We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare, bragging about how fast he is, challenges the super-slow tortoise to a race. The overconfident hare decides to stop and take a nap in the middle of the race. He wakes up hours later only to discover that the tortoise has beaten him in the race. The hare, ashamed, and the tortoise, triumphant, taught us one moral in our childhood — slow and steady wins the race.
But that’s not quite the story that New York State eighth graders read on their English Language Arts exams this past week.
Instead, students found themselves reading “The Hare and the Pineapple”. In this version of the fable, a talking pineapple challenges a hare to a race. Several other animals take bets on which one of the two will win — choosing the pineapple. Some think it might be trying to trick them.
The race starts. The pineapple doesn’t move. The hare wins, and all the animals eat the pineapple.
The moral — Pineapples don’t have sleeves.
No, you’re not high.
And neither is Pearson, the testing agency, who has a $32 million contract with the state to redesign the exams.
Students, parents, and teachers were outraged… and confused. Of the six questions that followed, two troubled students the most: why did the animals eat the pineapple, and which animal spoke the wisest words?
In response to these complaints the state has decided not to count those six questions against students.
Check out the passage and questions here.
The answers are: