I had a question today on the Mr. Fitz Facebook page: "What is the U-SKUNK?" The reader had attempted to Google the term and could find nothing about it. This is because it has only appeared online in JPEGs of my comic strips, and JPEGs don't show up in searches. To create a "Google-trail" for the U-SKUNK, I offer this explanation.
When I was creating my comic strip about teaching, Mr. Fitz, in 2000, I wanted to parody the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test, but in hopes of someday being syndicated (something that has, alas, not yet happened), I didn't want to call it the FCAT. I wanted a parody of the test that would allow for the kind of satirical commentary I wanted to do. I decided we needed an unappealing animal to compete with the cute little F-"cat," and very quickly the skunk suggested itself. Vaguely cat-like, yet also stinky; I only needed an acronym to make it work.
With my wife's help, an acronym formed:
U-SKUNK: the Universal SKills, UNderstanding, and Knowledge Test.
And the idea took off... even though Ms. Albright's poster got the acronym a bit wrong in this 2001 strip.
As FCAT is phased out and we move to the Common Core PARRC Assessments, I'll have to come up with a new name for those tests...