Horace Mann, From Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education
1. Horace Mann begins with this description to draw a parallel with the functioning of what was at the time the current economic system. Indeed, the reader will automatically see feudalism as an unfair and extreme system. By making this analogy, Horace Mann forces the reader to also view themajor flaws of their own economic system.
Leon Botstein, Let Teenagers Try Adulthood
1. Botstein believes the current American high school system is outdated and no longer well suited to adolescents. He says this because he defines high school as “artificial,” says sports in high school are overly important compared to student culture and teachers are not chosen according to theappropriate criteria… Basically, being in the system hurts adolescents more than it helps them.
2. Botstein means that high school is a separate environment that does not follow the rules of life. Everything in high school is superficial, and standards are not the same than in adult life. Popularity, insiders, outsiders… will not be maintained once one enters real life, because high school is adifferent game and has different rules. The way one was judged in high school will be ultimately irrelevant in life, since values and expectations change from one environment to the other.
3. Botstein wants to reform the system: start the equivalent of high school at seventh grade, and have it last four years. Students would then graduate at sixteen. From there, they could either start working,attend college, or go to a new form of specialized institutions adapted to their interests.
4. Botstein addresses a counterargument when he claims “there is nothing utopian about this idea.” The way he introduces the counterargument automatically refutes it; however, he is not immensely persuasive as he only says his idea is “practical and efficient.”
5. I think the strongest part of Botstein’sreasoning are his views on high school. He is correct when he says it is a superficial environment that ultimately ends up hurting more than helping students. He gives a series of facts that prove his point.
I think the weakest part of his reasoning is the solution he offers. I personally have trouble understanding why having four years of secondary education would be different from having a highschool. All Botstein wants to do is basically cut two years of high school and send students off to college when they are sixteen. First of all, nothing says those years of secondary education will be easier than high school. Teenagers will still have the same penchant towards superficiality and good looks. Second of all, teenagers will not necessarily be more mature once they enter college, forthe fact is they will still remain sixteen. I feel like abolishing high school and using Botstein’s system instead would only result in having the same issues in two different establishments as opposed to a single one.
Todd Gitlin, The Liberal Arts in an Age of Info-Glut
1. Todd Gitlin does this so that his readers will understand the extent to which the average American is a victim of theglut of images. If he wishes to do something he enjoys such as watching television, then he must be exposed to commercials and the like very often.
This lays the foundation for his argument by proving that since Americans watch television often, they are almost overexposed to images.
2. The paragraph is basically a list of facts, and is presented like a sort of scientific demonstration. Therepetitive sentence structure and anaphora “Add […]” show that Gitlin is using process analysis to prove his point. Therefore he is trying to convince his reader, but doesn’t leave any grounds for debate either.
3. These terms serve to show the potential danger this “info-glut” represents, and the consequences it could have on certain people. They make the reader realize that not everything about...