Response to two articles

1. The required length of this essay is approximately 750 words.

2. Be sure to use MLA manuscript format.

3. For this essay, using first person (“I”) is OPTIONAL. You will have to decide if it will help or hurt your argument to include yourself in the paper.

4. Be sure to have a clear thesis at the end of your introduction. You will prove this thesis in the body of the essay. Do not “announce” with your thesis. That is, do not use phrase such as “In this essay, it will be proved…” or “This essay will show… .” (In other words, do not reference the paper in the paper itself.)

5. For your topic (specifically stated below), you will be responding to the issues raised in the essays “Against School” by John Taylor Gatto (posted in Module 2) and “America Skips School” by Benjamin Barber (posted in Module 3). You MAY quote from the articles if you wish. This being the first essay of the semester, we of course have not had time to discuss proper formatting and MLA rules for using quotes. So, if you do decide to quote, just use the following basic approach for the quotes: Start with the author’s last name (only the last name), use a word or phrase like “says” or “points out” or “explains” and then put the quote. For example:

Barber says, “A lot of dropouts will end up in prison.” or, Barber points out “A lot of dropouts will end up in prison.”

Gatto states, “Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers.”

Do NOT use ANY other outside sources for this paper. This is supposed to be a paper that is based on your own opinion and experience. Your evidence can be simply anecdotal. This is not meant to be a Research Paper.

However, please note, that if you DO decide to go against these instructions and you do use ANY outside source, it is YOUR responsibility to properly cite those sources both in the paper and on the Works Cited. You will likely be penalized if you use additional secondary sources (beyond the option to use the 2 essays shown above), but you will receive a 0 on the paper (and possibly further penalties–see syllabus) if you use sources and do not properly credit them.

8. The due date for this assignment can be found on the Course Calendar and by clicking on the Syllabus link in the main menu on the left side of every page in the course.

9. This paper must be turned in directly to


1. Both Gatto and Barber, in their respective essays offer their ideas on what is wrong with—and how we can “fix”—education. For your essay, offer your own idea(s) for how we can “fix” education. Like Gatto and Barber, I would prefer that you focus on education in the broader sense (or perhaps larger scale), and not focus on very small issues like “students need 5 extra minutes between classes to get to their lockers.” The authors of our essays focus on public, K-12 education. You probably will as well, but, if you prefer, you can focus instead on our college education system.

Part of your essay will undoubtedly need to be on explaining what “problem” your “fix” is (or “fixes” are) addressing.

Though it may seem logical that you would go out and find supporting information (such as education statistics) please do not. You may use any information found in Gatto’s or Barber’s articles, of course, but otherwise, you can simply rely on anecdotal evidence for this paper.