Paper #1: A Persuasive Argument for a Change in Law or Education System
Write a persuasive essay in which you argue for a specific change in the law or education system that you believe would improve the economic prospects or overall success of those currently in school or recent graduates.
Here are a few of the possible issues that you may choose to write about:
Reform of the public education system. Argue for a specific change or set of changes to the public school system. This should not merely discuss the need for a change, but instead should be structured so as to advocate a set of specific changes.
Eliminate high-stakes standardized testing in the K-12 school system. For example, the Florida Standards Assessment (previously the FCAT) is used to determine the success of individual students and schools within the state. Should this be eliminated? Or is there a change to this system that would benefit students, improving their ability to gain a quality education?
Teacher Evaluations. Would the use of required teacher evaluations improve classroom teaching? Would it be beneficial to tie these evaluations to a teacher\’s on-going employment?
Reform in undergraduate degree programs. Is there a change in traditional college degree programs that would be beneficial?
Change in voting age. At present, Americans can register to vote once they have turned 18 years old. Argue for a specific change in the age of eligibility to vote. Would this impact education or economic policies that affects younger adults?
Voter ID laws. Many states are passing laws that require voters to show one or more forms of state-issued identification (driver\’s license, birth certificate, etc) in order to vote. In some states, these laws are designed to discourage students who only have a local college-issued ID. Argue for a change in these laws or for all states to adopt such law.
Financial reform. Argue for a change in laws in regards to financial regulation.
Tuition reform or changes in financial aid system. Should changes be made to how students pay for higher education? If you\’re going to advocate something that would lower costs for students, how will those costs be then paid? (If the answer is simply that the government will pay, you\’ll have to argue for why increased taxpayer spending would ultimately benefit the overall society)
Change the minimum wage. Should the minimum wage be raised? Should it be lowered or eliminated altogether?
Change the income tax code. Should there be changes in the income tax code? Simply arguing against taxes or for lower taxes would be note effective. Rather, an argument for changing the system should thoughtfully consider how to fund government spending while changing the method of raising revenue. For example, you could argue for changing the tax brackets, for specific exemptions to income taxes (such as all educational costs, the costs of insurance, etc), or for a \”flat tax\” system.
Change in access to medical insurance. At present, younger adults are among the most likely to lack access to affordable medical insurance. Is there a change in law that would help improve this?
These are only a few of the issues about which one can write. However, say something original! The same tired arguments have been made about most issues to the point where they lack any impact. Instead, you should choose an issue about which you can develop an intelligent, thoughtful, and unique set of points. So deciding upon your topic is the biggest challenge of this assignment.
For this assignment, you may engage in research to learn more about your chosen issue. This research should be only to gain necessary background information if needed; it should not involve seeking out the arguments of others on the issue. Therefore, YOU MAY NOT INCLUDE ANY RESEARCH IN YOUR PAPER (such as statistics or ideas presented by others). Instead, you must develop your paper based on your own ideas. Therefore, you should choose a topic about which you are knowledgable and believe that you can develop a thoughtful, intelligent argument for change. There are two primary reasons for this \”no research\” requirement: I haven\’t yet taught you how to properly credit other people\’s ideas (so you may end up committing plagiarism if you use research information at this point), plus I really want to see you develop original thoughts rather than repeat what others have already said.
Lastly, remember that the point of this assignment is NOT simply to share your views on an issue. Instead, you are seeking to write a persuasive essay that revolves around a series of logical points. You should not make any assumptions about the reader\’s view on the issue and should otherwise also adhere to the standards of sophisticated academic tone discussed in our course lessons.
This paper must be typed, double spaced, font= Times New Roman 12 or Arial 10.
This paper must be at least 5 paragraphs in length AND must be at least 700 words long. This generally equals at least 2 complete pages. Do not exceed 5 pages. If you do not meet the minimum length requirement, you will not earn a passing grade on the paper
The Writing Process:
STEP ONE:Submit the Outline Worksheet for Paper 1. This worksheet (a Microsoft Word document that you can download) can be found by clicking on the link here or within the \”Paper #1 Assignment\” folder in this Learning Unit . It asks you to develop your thesis statement as well as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. Please submit this completed worksheet in the Assignments section of the course. I will reply to you with feedback on your thesis & topic sentences and specific suggestions as to how these might be revised to more successfully craft a quality paper.
OPTIONAL STEP TWO: You may submit your paper to SmarThinking (for online tutor feedback) or visit the Writing Lab (in the Academic Success Center) for 1st draft feedback. To learn more about how to access SmarThinking, click here.
STEP THREE: Submit the final draft in the Assignments section of the course.
On steps one, two, and three above, you will receive feedback and a grade that indicates credit for submitting the assignment. However, the grade is ultimately of less importance. Instead, the FEEDBACK provided by your instructor is of ultimate importance. Utilize this feedback to proceed in the writing process in order to develop a quality final draft that will earn a successful grade.
Any plagiarism on this paper or any of the steps in the writing process will lead to failure of this course, so please do not make that mistake.
How is this paper graded?
I will grade your paper based on the following elements:
Proper essay structure, including a detailed, quality thesis statement.
Proper grammar, spelling, syntax, and sentence mechanics.
Proper academic tone.
A clear, thoughtful, sophisticated, and intelligent argument.
Please remember that this assignment should NOT be similar to writing that you may have written during high school or in a college-prep course. I expect original, intelligent, well-structured, quality writing and thinking; otherwise you will not earn a passing grade. The point of this course is to raise your critical thinking and writing skills to the level necessary for quality college-level discourse, so make sure to keep that goal in mind as you work on this project.