New York State education commissioner John B. King has removed (New York Times) some confusing, nonsensical questions about a pineapple racing a hare from an eight grade standardised test. The New York Daily News carried some of the narrative and egregious questions that I posted below. Eight graders, talk about child abuse, have been puzzled and upset about the lack of clarity and obfuscation of material that these questions represented. I read the passage and the questions and I am struck by the arrogance and arbitrary power that testing architects have. They are out for financial gain and to destroy teaching, create a national agenda, close “low-performance scores” schools and the like. I have no idea what a pineapple without sleeves is. When I took the SAT and other standardised tests, I frequently believed many of the multiple choice questions could be answered or a single question. I also resented time restraints; I felt pressure and could not relax. Thinking should not be governed by an ersatz twenty-four second shot clock. Thinking and creativity should not be chained to time and speed.
It turns out that Illinois is one of several states that presented questions of Daniel Pinkwater’s rabbit v. pineapple race. This guy is also in on the take and big bucks are the corruptible seed of education in this country. State education commissioners, who themselves should be fired for monitoring these absurd mind-numbing exercises, should be replaced by antitesting direct action advocates who won’t allow such abusive testing to occur. Pearson, the world’s largest textbook and education materials company, has skin in the game here. They got $32 million to publish and construct these tests. No, the money was not used for faculty salaries, computers, chairs, renovation of classrooms, but for this assault on learning and critical thinking.
Understand, the testers are in this for the cash and to root our progressive instruction in the US. Standardised testing I have previously described is a form of fascism. Big bucks, big stakes, careers destroyed, students’ progress halted, teachers purged. We need more than removal of some questions that are unanswerable and meaningless; we need to extirpate this scourge from this country. RESIST THIS ORWELLIAN ATTACK ON THE MIND AND THE DEMOCRATIC VALUES OF INDEPENDENT THINKING WE PROFESS TO SUPPORT!
by Daniel Pinkwater, from New York Daily News April 21, 2012
In olden times, the animals of the forest could speak English just like you and me. One day, a pineapple challenged a hare to a race.
(I forgot to mention, fruits and vegetables were able to speak too.)
A hare is like a rabbit, only skinnier and faster. This particular hare was known to be the fastest animal in the forest.
“You, a pineapple have the nerve to challenge me, a hare, to a race,” the hare asked the pineapple. “This must be some sort of joke.”
“No,” said the pineapple. “I want to race you. Twenty-six miles, and may the best animal win.”
“You aren’t even an animal!” the hare said. “You’re a tropical fruit!”
“Well, you know what I mean,” the pineapple said.
The animals of the forest thought it was very strange that tropical fruit should want to race a very fast animal.
“The pineapple has some trick up its sleeve,” a moose said.
Pineapples don’t have sleeves, an owl said
“Well, you know what I mean,” the moose said. “If a pineapple challenges a hare to a race, it must be that the pineapple knows some secret trick that will allow it to win.”
“The pineapple probably expects us to root for the hare and then look like fools when it loses,” said a crow. “Then the pineapple will win the race because the hare is overconfident and takes a nap, or gets lost, or something.”
The animals agreed that this made sense. There was no reason a pineapple should challenge a hare unless it had a clever plan of some sort. So the animals, wanting to back a winner, all cheered for the pineapple.
When the race began, the hare sprinted forward and was out of sight in less than a minute. The pineapple just sat there, never moving an inch.
The animals crowded around watching to see how the pineapple was going to cleverly beat the hare. Two hours later when the hare cross the finish line, the pineapple was still sitting still and hadn’t moved an inch.
The animals ate the pineapple.
MORAL: Pineapples don’t have sleeves
Beginning with paragraph 4, in what order are the events in the story told?
A switching back and forth between places
B In the order in which the events happen
C Switching back and forth between the past and the present
D In the order in which the hare tells the events to another animal
The animals ate the pineapple most likely because they were
Which animal spoke the wisest words?
A The hare
B The moose
C The crow
D The owl
Before the race, how did the animals feel toward the pineapple?
What would have happened if the animals had decided to cheer for the hare?
A The pineapple would have won the race.
B They would have been mad at the hare for winning.
C The hare would have just sat there and not moved.
D They would have been happy to have cheered for a winner.
When the moose said that the pineapple has some trick up its sleeve, he means that the pineapple
A is wearing a disguise
B wants to show the animals a trick
C has a plan to fool the animals
D is going to put something out of its sleeve