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GRE Argument Essay; Ten-year Budget For The City Of Calatrava - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “The following appeared as a recommendation by a committee planning a ten-year budget for the city of Calatrava. ‘The birthrate in our city is declining: in fact, last year's birthrate was only one-half that of five years ago. Thus the number of students enrolled in our public schools will soon decrease dramatically, and we can safely reduce the funds budgeted for education during the next decade. At the same time, we can reduce funding for athletic playing fields and other recreational facilities. As a result, we will have sufficient money to fund city facilities and programs used primarily by adults, since we can expect the adult population of the city to increase.’ Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.”
The recommendation above is a plan for ten-year budget for the city of Calatrava. The author has used many statements saying that the funds budgeted for school, funds for athletic playing fields and other recreational activities must be reduced and the funds for city facilities and programs used primarily by adults have to be increased. There is no evidence for any of these except that the author has cited that last year's birthrate was only one-half that of five years ago.
First evidence we would need for evaluating this argument is the current population of the city and the population it had 5 years ago. We need this report to compare the number of children and adults now vs number of children and adults five years ago. If the number children have decreased to one half that of number children five years ago and the number of adults have not increased, then this would strengthen the claim that the number of studetns enrolled in private schools will be decreased. Contrarywise, if there was an increase in number of children as author has stated, then we need reports from public schools to confirm if there is a notable decrease in number of students enrolled in the schools five years back and number of students enrolled this year. If there is no big difference in number of students enrolled five years back and now, then this would weaken the argument that it is safe to reduce the funds budgeted for education during the next decade.
Next, the author has suggested reducing the funding for athletic playing fields and other recreational facilities as the birthrate in Calatrava city is declining. But there is no evidence to prove that these facilities are used only by children in the city and not be teenagers or adults. This evidence would have strengthened the argument if, from the report, only the children use this facilities in the city. On the other hand, if adults and teenagers also use athletic playing fields and other recreational facilities, then this would weaken the argument.
Finally, the author has recommended to budget the remaining funding to city facilities and programs used primarily by adults and gives the reason that the adult population is expected to increase in city. Again, there is no explaination about the evidence that author uses to conclude that there might be an increase in the adult population. One such piece of evidence would be that many adults are moving in from nearby cities into the city of Calatrava. If we could at least get the report of increase in number of adults over last 5 years and if there is a aberrant increase, then this would strengthen the argument. If there is no big increase in the number of adults in the city, then this would weaken the argument.
To conclude, the author has recommended a ten-year budget plan for the city of Calatrava and the recommendation does not have any strong evidences to support his claim that reducing the funds budgeted for education is safe and the funds have to be used for city facilities and programs used primarily by adults as the adult population is expected to increase.
It is probably unnecessary (and therefore a waste of your limited time) to summarize the statement you are evaluating as part of your introduction, but if you are going to summarize, you need to make sure that you summarize it accurately. The statement, for example, does not say that funds budgeted for education and recreation “must be reduced” but rather that such funds can be “safely” reduced. I would recommend, in any case, starting with the second paragraph.
In the second paragraph you claim that a report comparing current population with the population of five years ago would be needed to evaluate the argument. Presumably, you specify “five years ago” because the original statement does, but there is no compelling reason why you should follow the original statement in that way. Presumably what you want to find out is whether there is a trend that demonstrates a declining population of children. You also don’t explain why you think the comparison you suggest might result in an observation whose implications are very different from the observation recorded in the original argument; you don’t explain, in other words, why it might be that despite the decline in birthrate there might still be no corresponding decline in the number of children living in the city. When you are asked to “discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument,” I suspect that you are being encouraged to explain why such evidence might possibly contradict the original argument. Presumably you have in mind the possibility of migrants to the city making up for the decline in the city’s birth rate, and if that is the case, you should probably say so. The second part of the second paragraph (from “contrariwise” [an ugly word!] on) is confusing to me. Presumably you meant to say “decrease” rather than “increase.” Again, you don’t explain why you think it might be possible that a decrease in the number of children in the city might not result in a decrease in the number of students enrolled in public schools.
The remaining paragraphs are reasonably good. The last paragraph, the conclusion, adds little to your essay, however, and I would generally recommend devoting less time to the introduction and conclusion, and more time to clarifying the kinds of issues that I suggested above were in need of clarification.