First Prize

Education Columns
Opinion Writing

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

We must let public education descend from the head into the heart, which is home to the precious qualities — joy, identity, curiosity, liberation — that can never be quantified. Knowledge should be secondary to the real aim of education, which is always about formation and transformation.

Comments from the Judges: 

“David Cook is a terrific writer who makes impassioned arguments against the over-testing of our schoolchildren.”

“Love this guy’s writing style. Clipped sentences, confident, chatty. Perhaps my favorite sentence was a metaphor that came off as fresh and witty: ‘It is the steroid scandal of the education world: The biggest and bulkiest thing around is also the fakest and falsest.’ … [H]e goes far beyond just harping on testing and its shortcomings [to] show who is benefitting from it and what is being sacrificed. I especially loved how he used the example of the paper-clip project to show how creativity is stifled by testing. In a sea of jargon-ey education writing, this is writing with heart, for the regular reader as well as the educator.”