Steve wrote a masterful essay on the National Journal Education Experts blog yesterday. The piece is worth a read even if you don't give a whit about Race to the Top. Hell, read it if you love football! It's an extremely good example of using -- and extending -- a metaphor. Most people can't pull it off -- it takes discipline and attention to your writing to do it without it coming off as heavy-handed. But Steve managed it beautifully. Even though it's been up less than 24 hours, he's gotten fan mail already!
Here's a link to The "T" in Accountability, which, if not for a headline character limit, would have been called: What do the 1972 Dolphins and Race to the Top have in common?
The essay works for several reasons:
1. It uses humor to defuse a contentious issue
2. The main idea is clear, and the metaphor helps make it clearer
3. It's full of helpful details
4. The voice is all Steve, all the time, which sells the metaphor
5. The organization is easy to follow
6. It makes a tough issue more accessible to a broader audience
If you're a writer, use this as your inspiration today to put a little more art in your craft. If you're a teacher of writing, use this a model the next time you're evaluating great writing and effective use of metaphor. Zowie!