Since I am not prone to say, “I told you, so!” I’ll let Time magazine’s Andrew Rotherham tell you why I was right to take the Daily News, Ken Jennings and State Ed Commissioner John King to task over pineapplegate.
Who screwed up in Pineapplegate? There is plenty of blame to go around various parties, and their roles in this debacle illuminate many of the bigger problems facing education reform today. Where to begin? Let’s start with:
The media. Standardized tests are closely guarded to prevent cheating, so when the Daily News ran its story, the reading passage and accompanying questions had never before been made public. The newspaper apparently plucked the information off of anti-testing online message boards – always a reliable source, right? The passage the paper ran was so poorly written that it would indeed have been inexcusable. Tests are shoddy, case closed! Except that the passage the Daily News published on April 19 was not the actual one on the test; it was an incomplete paraphrase, leaving out such things as — you guessed it — the owl.
As the article went viral, the Daily News posted a new version of its story with the correct passage but didn’t run a correction. The paper only mentioned, toward the end of a follow-up story it ran the next day, that there were “slight variations” between the version it had published and what was on the state test. (Click here for the actual passage.) NPR called the Daily News on this sleight of hand, but elsewhere people continued to react to the initial paraphrase, and the story took on a life of its own.
Read more: What Everyone Missed on the Pineapple Question | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.