Essay 5: They Say, I Say Part 2: Evaluating Evidence
Pick an essay that we have read this semester.
Find two points, claims or arguments that the writer supports with evidence (example, statistic, expert). Evaluate the evidence they provide and check for the use of logical fallacies. Do you believe the claims are successfully supported? Present your analysis in multiple-paragraph essay form.
The final draft must be typed and double spaced at a twelve-point font. Follow MLA format guidelines for heading and page numbering. Include citations and a Works Cited page.
Note: Plagiarized essays will receive a zero.
Essays on topics that don’t match the prompt can not receive a passing grade.
Secondary sources can not be used on this assignment.
An A paper will have a thorough introduction that sets up the analysis; a clear thesis that directly addresses the prompt and establishes the direction of the essay; distinct body points; well-structured and developed individual body paragraphs; a solid conclusion that recaps the essay; a comprehensive analysis of evidence; an overall presentation that breaks out of the five-paragraph model; quotes that are integrated with the framing strategy; proper citations and Works Cited page; writing that is free of substantial errors.
Two Years Are Better Than Four
Liz Addison, 38, is a biology major whose goal is to become a large animal veterinarian. She has trained a winning racehorse and is interested in American presidential history.
Oh, the hand wringing. “College as America used to understand it is coming to an end,” bemoans Rick Perlstein and his beatnik friend of fallen face. Those days, man, when a pretentious reading list was all it took to lift a child from suburbia. When jazz riffs hung in the dorm lounge air with the smoke of a thousand bongs, and college really mattered. Really mattered?
Rick Perlstein thinks so. It mattered so much to him that he never got over his four years at the University of Privilege. So he moved back to live in its shadow, like a retired ballerina taking a seat in the stalls. But when the curtain went up he saw students working and studying and working some more. Adults before their time. Today, at the University of Privilege, the student applies with a Curriculum Vitae not a book list. Shudder.
Thus, Mr. Perlstein concludes, the college experience – a rite of passage as it was meant it to be – must have come to an end. But he is wrong. For Mr. Perlstein, so rooted in his own nostalgia, is looking for himself – and he would never think to look for himself in the one place left where the college experience of self-discovery does still matter to those who get there. My guess, reading between the lines, is that Mr. Perlstein has never set foot in an American community college.
The philosophy of the community college, and I have been to two of them, is one that unconditionally allows its students to begin. Just begin. Implicit in this belief is the understanding that anything and everything is possible. Just follow any one of the 1,655 road signs, and pop your head inside – yes, they let anyone in – and there you will find discoveries of a first independent film, a first independent thought, a first independent study. This college experience remains as it should. This college brochure is not marketing for the parents – because the parents, nor grandparents, probably never went to college themselves.
Upon entry to my first community college I had but one O’level to my name. These now disbanded qualifications once marked the transition from lower to upper high school in the Great British education system. It was customary for the average student to proceed forward with a clutch of O’levels, say eight or nine. On a score of one, I left school hurriedly at sixteen. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Everybody should have an education proportional to their life.” In my case, my life became proportional to my education. But, in doing so, it had the good fortune to land me in an American community college and now, from that priceless springboard, I too seek admission to the University of Privilege. Enter on empty and leave with a head full of dreams? How can Mr. Perlstein say college does not matter anymore?
The community college system is America’s hidden public service gem. If I were a candidate for office I would campaign from every campus. Not to score political points, but simply to make sure that anyone who is looking to go to college in this country knows where to find one. Just recently, I read an article in the New York Times describing a ‘college application essay’ workshop for low-income students. I was strangely disturbed that those interviewed made no mention of community college. MrPerlstien might have been equally disturbed, for the thrust of the workshop was no different to that of an essay coach to the affluent. “Make Life Stories Shine,” beams the headline. Or, in other words, prove yourself worldly, insightful, cultured, mature, before you get to college.
Yet, down at X.Y.C.C. it is still possible to enter the college experience as a rookie. That is the understanding – that you will grow up a little bit with your first English class, a bit more with your first psychology class, a whole lot more with your first biology, physics, chemistry. That you may shoot through the roof with calculus, philosophy, or genetics. “College is the key,” a young African-American student writes for the umpteenth torturous revision of his college essay, “as well as hope.” Oh, I wanted desperately to say, please tell him about community college. Please tell him that hope can begin with just one placement test.
When Mr. Perlstein and friends say college no longer holds importance, they mourn for both the individual and society. Yet, arguably, the community college experience is more critical to the nation than that of former beatnik types who, lest we forget, did not change the world. The community colleges of America cover this country college by college and community by community. They offer a network of affordable future, of accessible hope, and an option to dream. In the cold light of day, is it perhaps not more important to foster students with dreams rather than a building take-over?
I believe so. I believe the community college system to be one of America’s uniquely great institutions. I believe it should be celebrated as such. “For those who find it necessary to go to a two-year college,” begins one University of Privilege admissions paragraph. None too subtle in its implication, but very true. For some students, from many backgrounds, would never breathe the college experience if it were not for the community college. Yes, it is here that Mr. Perlstein will find his college years of self-discovery, and it is here he will find that college does still matter.