ENG 111 Essay 2: ‘He Said, She Said’
When scholars publish articles and books in their field of academic study, they are often said to be taking part in an ongoing conversation about their topic of interest. We can monitor this conversation by reading articles by different authors on the same or similar topics and we can join in through our own writing. The interesting part of all this is that participants in this ‘meta conversation’ do not necessarily have to have ever met, know of each other, or even live in the same time period. The conversation exists by virtue of each participant writing down his or her thoughts on a particular topic. In this essay, you will join a conversation on education reform by reading and analyzing three articles by different authors to find common ground between them discuss how they differ, and offer your views on the topic.
Read the articles “Hidden dropouts: How Schools Make Low Achievers Disappear” by Heather Vogell and Hannah Fresques, “So That Nobody Has to Go to School If They Don’t Want To’ by Roger Sipher and “What Our Education System Needs is More F’s” by Carl Singleton. Vogell and Fresques’ article is a recent investigative piece that shows how a high performing public high school in Florida is using a low performing alternative charter high school nearby to make its performance numbers look better on paper. Sipher and Singleton are addressing similar problems in their opinion articles, but are proposing vastly different solutions. Your job will be to make the connections between these three articles that are necessary for a ‘meta conversation’ to exist. This process is called synthesis.
Read each article at least twice. Read them the first time just to get the gist of what the authors are saying about our nation’s education system and what needs to be done to fix it. Make sure you fully understand each essay. Look up any words you do not understand. Read them a second—and maybe even a third—time with an eye toward understanding the broader implications of their arguments, their strengths and their weaknesses. Use the highlighting and annotating techniques we have discussed in class to find keywords and phrases that support the authors’ positions. Draw generalizations about the readings to identify common ground between them and ways in which they differ.
Once you have read the articles at least twice (more is even better) and are sure you fully understand them, compare them to each other as you consider and address the following questions:
● Where is there common ground between the articles?
● Sipher and Singleton offer some pretty drastic yet simplistic solutions. To what degree are their suggestions reflected in what has been put into place as policy at Olympia High School? How would Sipher and Singleton react to the situation at Olympia?
● How are the authors’ positions, especially those of Sipher and Singleton, similar? How are they different?
● How valid are the arguments made in these articles? Do they address the root cause(s) of the problem or are they just treating the symptoms? Are they ignoring things that would potentially impact their arguments?
● Based on the content of their respective articles, would Singleton agree with Sipher’s position that mandatory school attendance should be abolished?
● What would Sipher think of Singleton’s call for an end to the practice of giving passing grades to marginal students?
● What would Sipher and Singleton think about Vogell and Fresques’ findings in their “Hidden Dropouts” article? Would they feel it undermined or reinforced their own positions?
● In what ways are the authors’ positions compatible with each other? How are they incompatible?
● Would the authors see each other as allies or adversaries?
● Sipher’s article was published in 1967 and Singleton’s in 1984. In what ways are the authors’ comments still relevant today, especially when read alongside information presented in the “Hidden Dropouts” article, published in 2017?
Your essay should be a minimum of 750 words and should be in proper MLA format with in-text citations and a works cited page. You can write more than 750 words, but you should not submit significantly less than that. You should have a well-formed introduction, body, and conclusion with an identifiable thesis statement. You should quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize the articles to support your points and make sure you include a parenthetical citation each time you do so.
NOTE: Your essay should contain no more than 30 percent quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material. It should be substantially your own words and your own thoughts about what you are reading. To be clear, this does NOT mean that 70 percent of your essay should be in first person. Use the strategies outlined in chapter 11 of A Student’s Companion to Hacker Handbooks to keep your essay in third person. You are only required to use the three provided articles as source material for your essay but you are welcome to find and reference additional sources if you wish; however, you MUST document them properly.
This essay will be worth 140 points to be awarded according to the following formula:
● Content: 55 points
● Format: 15 points
● Citations: 40 points
● Mechanics: 30 points (assessed on a declining scale: 0-2 errors =30 of 30 points; 3-5 errors = 20 of 30 points; 6-9 errors = 10 of 30 points; 10 or more errors = ZERO of 30 points.)
Due Dates: Printed hard copies are due at class time. Electronic submissions are due at 11:55 p.m. on the same due date.
● Working Drafts to be peer-reviewed in class: Wed. 12 February
● Rough Drafts will be due to the instructor: Sun. 21 February
● Final Drafts will be due: Mon. 13 March
*ENG 011 students will bring their rough to ENG 011 class for review conferences.
**Tentative date pending instructor’s timely completion of rough draft reviews.
Late Penalties: Failure to turn in a rough draft will result in a 35-point (25% penalty). Final drafts will lose 28 points per day (20 percent) and will be worth zero points after five days.
Work may be submitted as printed hard copies or uploaded electronically to Moodle in MS Word (.doc or .docx), OpenOffice/LibreOffice (.odt) or PDF formats. Apple Pages users will need to export their work to Word or PDF format (File => Export as => choose either Word or PDF) before uploading. Special instructions for Apple Pages users can be found on Moodle.