Putting Education Reform To The Test

New York Pulls “The Hare and the Pineapple” From State Reading Test

New York Department of Education

The New York education department released the controversial The Hare and the Pineapple reading test section Friday.

The New York education department took the unusual step of releasing a state reading test section last week after Internet buzz about the confusing passage and questions built to a roar.

The passage was called the “Hare and the Pineapple,” and was authored by children’s author Daniel Pinkwater.

Typically test questions are not released to the public.

The story strikes the tone of a fable, with a talking pineapple challenging a talking hare to a race. The forest critters spend the rest of the story trying to suss out the pineapple’s intentions in throwing down the gauntlet to the hare.

The passage is best read, rather than explained.

New York students quickly emailed Pinkwater about the test question. The story — and complaints — was passed around Facebook groups.

Pinkwater wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News indicating regret for selling his story to testing companies. The story was absurd, Pinkwater wrote, so asking multiple choice questions based on the story is also absurd.

“Well, I accepted money from sleazy people for what turns out to be a sleazy thing,” Pinkwater wrote in the NYDN. “But that is good too! That’s what a lot of celebrities do. Do I want another 15 minutes? Nah. One is plenty.”

The New York test contractor, Pearson, is the same as Florida’s test contractor. Last week, a Florida blogger noted problems with practice questions on the FCAT science tests.

Friday the New York education department said they were throwing out the section of the test and it would not count toward student scores.

The moral? Maybe standardized tests should have no sleeves?


  • I don’t see what the problem is. The questions seem to have fair answers. 

    The animals obviously ate the pineapple because they were annoyed. They were obviously nor amused, excited or happy because they all wagered the pineapple would win. Due to him losing, they were all annoyed. The key is that they weren’t “upset” at the outcome because they all genuinely wanted the hare to win. They thought they outsmarted the pineapple when they in fact ended up looking like fools. It annoyed them. So they ate him. 

    As for “who is the wisest?”, you have to choose between the hare, the moose, the crow and the owl. The hare never did anything to claim wisdom especially when you consider the fact he wanted to race a legless fruit. The crow made up a conspiracy theory that backfired in his face and made every animal look foolish. He was obviously not wise. And there isn’t even an owl in the story. The moose however told the crow that “pineapples don’t have sleeves”. He was right. A pineapple could have no tricks up his sleeve, because he didn’t have any sleeves. It was never specified if the moose meant it in a literal way or figurative way, but by process of elimination, you can identify him as the only possible candidate to be considered wise. 

    The answers are obvious once you give the story 1 or 2 minutes of thought. 

    • Guest

       Clearly to a functioning adult male like yourself, the answers are clear. Keep in mind that this exam is being taken by middle school children, who aren’t as adept at answering questions as such. Not to mention how absurd the passage was as a whole. And as a matter of fact, they did mention an owl. What may be obvious to you is not to a child of 12 or 13.

    • Ksideman

      Not only is there an owl in the story, but “the owl” was given as the right answer by the state when they published the questions and answers.  I guess it’s not as obvious as you think!

      • NegativeFeedback

        The version I read replaced the owl with the moose, but my reasoning is still correct with the version on the test.

    • Dsbrown

      Obvious? Then you missed it. The Hare was clearly the wisest as he chose to race a legless fruit and as a result won both a ninja and a lifetime supply of toothpaste.

  • styles101



    I just took this test last week and people may think that it was fair. Well im an Honor Student and I thought this passage was absolutly the worst State Test Passage ive read. Some people may think that we are just “whinners” but it was definetly unexectable for the NYS education department.

    • Charlotte

       An Honors Student who apparently cannot use apostrophes, use commas, or spell common words such as, ‘unacceptable’, or ‘whiners.’ I believe you that the question itself was unfair, as the test was absurd, but if you are truly an Honors Student I have several of my own issues with your schooling.

      • Aaron

        I guess using fragments as sentences is okay, though?

    • Holysnayru

      I’m an honors student too and yes, this was the worst test I’ve ever took.

  • Guest

    we took time out of our test time to do that one section..why not count it we stressed about it and now it’s no big deal to you guys…smh!!

  • Joeswell52

    I’m a teacher. If I put this goofy story and the same questions on my next test, would I be guilty of plagiarism? Or should I use it for extra credit?

  • Chilloutbro

    lol I didn’t get this story when I was reading it,i just put the crow had the wisest words? 

  • Did you know that New York State paid Pearson $35 Million for the tests they are using this year?  With 15 different tests produced you could pay 45 Teachers (3 per test) $100,000 per year to ONLY make the tests, no teaching involved, and it would only cost $4.5 Million.  Throw another $5 Million in for printing and mailing and the total is still shy of $10 Million.   

    Less than 1/3 the cost and HOPEFULLY we would get real test questions, not children’s stories.

    Who is the wisest? Not Pearson and apparently not the Regents Board for using them.

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