Rachel Levy asks whether it is appropriate for education leaders to curse or use sexual analogies in public.

Apparently, David Coleman, the newly installed president of the College Board, used a certain four-letter word at a recent Brookings conference on testing. This was not the first time this particular barnyard epithet has escaped Mr. Coleman’s lips.

And the recently departed state commissioner of education in Florida referred to test anxiety as being comparable to the anxiety associated with sexual intercourse.

Rachel is aware that I do not permit cursing on this site, at least not when it can be avoided (that is, you will not read me using expletives). I may curse in private. I may curse in my head. But I think it is rude and uncivil to curse in public. It is also childish and uncivil to make public remarks that belong in the locker room or some other non-public space.

Breaking the bounds of appropriate behavior contributes to the coarsening of our culture.

But that’s just me.

ADDENDUM: I just saw on Susan Ohanian’s blog that David Coleman used the F-word in addition to the barnyard epithet. Was that necessary? Does he think he shows his devotion to elevating civil discourse and education quality by sprinkling epithets through his comments?