Writing

Essay on the purposes of education and school reform (5-6pages double-spaced): The purpose of this essay is for you to synthesize and evaluate the foundational ideas you’ve encountered in class about the purpose of public schooling and the need for and possibilities of school reform. Choose four of the following assigned readings to discuss and compare: Labaree, Kantor and Lowe, Ladson-Billings, Rothstein, Orfield, and Hess.In your essay you should consider questions such as: How do the authors view the purpose and problems of public schooling? How do they agree and how do they disagree? Who do you think is right and why? What do you think the purpose of public education should be and what kinds of reforms might we need to accomplish that goal?

I am looking for five things when I read these papers:

1) Did you demonstrate an understanding of the basic arguments in each of the readings you discuss?

2) Dowrite about these arguments in comparison to one another (i.e., do you identify ways in which the authors agree and/or disagree with each otherabout the purpose of public schooling and/or school reform)?

3) Do you evaluate the authors’ arguments (identify strengths and/or weaknesses)?

4) Do you explain your views/beliefs about education and/or school reform in relation to the readings?

5) Does your paper have a thesis stated clearly in the first paragraph, and does the rest of your paper work to support/explain/justify that thesis?

I will grade your paper roughly as follows:

Mechanics – 10%: Is the paper 5-6 pages, double-spaced, with10 or 12-page font and regular margins?Does your paper have page numbers? Do you give page numbers with direct quotes and otherwise correctly cite sources?

Argument/main point/thesis statement – 10%: Does the paper have a thesis statement in the first paragraph that establishes the central point of your essay?

Organization – 10%: Is your paper organized in a way that is clear and easy to follow? Does each paragraph have a topic sentence? Does the organization of your essay support your argument/thesis?

Synthesis and evaluation of the readings – 40%: Do you demonstrate an understanding of the basic arguments in each of the readings you discuss? Do write about these arguments in comparison to one another (i.e., do you identify ways in which the authors agree and/or disagree with each other about the purpose of public schooling and/or school reform)?Do you evaluate the authors’ arguments (identify strengths and/or weaknesses)?

Explanation of your own beliefs10%: Do you explain your views/beliefs about education and/or school reform in relation to the readings?

Writing – 20%: Is the paper written in clear, grammatically correct language? Can I understand what you have written?

A Note on Citations:

1. You need not offer full citations when you discuss the assigned readings. However, whenever you quote the authors (which you should do sparingly) you must provide the page number.

o Example: Hess argues that “reform is about system change” (p.9).

2. If you offer information/data that you learned from a reading, any information you did not know before you took this class or that you do not think is common knowledge,you should cite the source.

o Example: Horace Mann’s Fifth Report to the Massachusetts Board of Education promoting the economic benefits of public schooling became his most famous report (Kantor & Lowe).

3. If you want to use additional sources (which is absolutely not required, but you may if you desire), you must include full citations. You may copy the format I use in our class syllabus for the readings, or consult an APA style guide such as: https://www.mendeley.com/guides/apa-citation-guide

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