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The Following Appeared In A Letter To The Editor Of Parson City's Local Newspaper - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “The following appeared in a letter to the editor of Parson City's local newspaper. ‘In our region of Trillura, the majority of money spent on the schools that most students attend—the city-run public schools—comes from taxes that each city government collects. The region's cities differ, however, in the budgetary priority they give to public education. For example, both as a proportion of its overall tax revenues and in absolute terms, Parson City has recently spent almost twice as much per year as Blue City has for its public schools—even though both cities have about the same number of residents. Clearly, Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education in public schools than Blue City residents do.’ 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.”
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 argument is that Parson city spends twice as much as Blue City per year for public schools and conclusion is made that Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education in public schools than Blue City residents. However, the argument lacks evidence without which such a conclusion cannot be made. First of all, the author of this letter has cited that Parson City has spent almost twice as much as Blue City for public schools, but there is no evidence on whether the entire amount amount budgeted for public school was used for education only. The amount may have been divided and used for development of schools, which might not be in a very good condition at present and only a small part would have been allocated for education. May be the public schools at Blue City are all developed ones so they dont have to give the development costs and can probably allocate more amount for education than the public schools at Parson City get for education after the development expenditures. If such evidence was provided in the argument and if the Parson City spends more on educating the students than Blue City and not on development of schools or paying extravagently high salary for teachers, then this would strengthen the argument. Otherwise the conclusion that the Parson City residednts place higher value on providing education than Blue City is weakened.
Secondly, the author has mentioned that, though both Parson City and Blue City has same number of residents, Parson City allocates twice as much budget for public schools as Blue City does. This statement is not followed by any other statement providing evidence of the number of children in each of the cities. Equal number of residents doesnt mean that both Blue City and Parson City will have same number of children going to public schools. Hence with such an evidence, if the number children going to public schools are markedly more in number in Parson City than in Blue City and Parson City allocates money twice as much as Blue City, then this would weaken the argument that Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education than Blue City. On the other hand, if the number of children going to public schools in Blue City is more than or equal to the number in Parson City, this would strengthen the argument.
Finally, there is no evidence provided to arrive at the conclusion that Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education in public schools than Blue City residents do. One of the evidences could be the comparison of marks scored by students in public schools of Blue City to that of Parson City. If the students of Parson City score higher grades than those in Blue City, then this would strengthen the argument and hence its conclusion. On contrary, if the students of Blue City public schools score higher grades than the students in Parson City, this would weaken the conlusion that Blue City does not value students' education at public schools as much as Parson City does.
My comments here will be brief, in large part because your approach to this prompt is generally spot on. You are getting the hang of these essays, so congratulations on that. You can still work on making your response as clear and precise as possible. When you are asked to discuss what specific evidence is need to evaluate an argument, I would recommend beginning each argument with a straightforward claim about the type of evidence needed so that there is no room for confusion on the part of your reader, and then follow that claim with your discussion. Write these kinds of sentences, for example: “The first piece of evidence we need in order to evaluate the argument would be a report clarifying what Parson City actually spends its money budgeted for public schools on” or “The second piece of evidence we need concerns the number of children etc.” Note that we need this latter evidence both for the reason you state and because it may be that a higher proportion of Blue City children are homeschooled or attend private schools.
The final paragraph here is the weakest part of the essay. Obviously the argument does present some evidence that Parson City residents place a higher value on providing good education, it’s just insufficient evidence. What you seem to be getting at is the possibility that how much value a city places on education can be judged by how the students perform. Again, if that’s your claim, make it directly, and perhaps defend it (presumably student grades are not always an reliable index of the value placed on education by a city). And, again, make the sentence in which you identify the specific evidence needed as clear as possible: “It might also be helpful to know how students actually perform in each school. Such evidence could serve as indication etc.”