Our third essay in this class will be a standard persuasive essay. For this next assignment choose a policy driven topic and argue a specific stance regarding the legislation or policy in order to demonstrate the ability to construct a persuasive argument and illustrate that the topic is important. Students may write about the policy of a social or cultural event (kneeling during the Anthem), or write about a current piece of legislation (law in general) or one that is proposed (either on a future ballot or that has been voted on in the past). The following are broader topics that can help initial brainstorming: Net Neutrality, Gun Law, Immigration Policy, First Amendment Rights, and State Propositions). The writer must then specify a specific policy and go beyond the generalizations of these topics. In other words, Pick a highly specific topic (Homework for elementary school children) and argue a debatable policy (Elementary schools should almost entirely eliminate homework from school curriculum and pedagogy).
This assignment is designed to help build on the contextualization and organization skills worked on in writing the first two assignments. The differences here are that the essay is not a narrative and personal experience should be limited as support for claims being made in the argument. In addition, the essay will be entering an ongoing conversation about the chosen topic—with other interested parties. That means outside sources should be incorporated in various ways.
* Find an article from a major publisher (not a blog and not an obscure news source)(Our College has resource-rich databases containing opinion information) to use as a primary source. In Addition, incorporate at least two secondary sources (using the College’s library resources—online or print).
You will need to establish several things in this assignment for it to work:
• In the Introduction, define the controversial topic and by either highlighting at least two opposing sides and transitioning into the thesis statement, or historicize the topic by providing context for the question being pursued (then finish with the thesis as the final sentence). Either way, end the intro with a thesis statement, which must be a claim of policy (using either “should” or “ought to”) and also attach the support.
• Support for your claim needs to be attached to the thesis. The support can be connected to the claim by using a transitional word like “because,” “since,” or “inasmuch as.” Perhaps come up with something more creative. See below for a thesis example:
Although some Americans believe flag desecration should be illegal (counter argument), such symbolic speech should be protected (claim of policy), since “The First Amendment” would be under threat if legislation sought to highly regulate patriotic statements. (support)
• Continue throughout the essay to engage in that author’s text. Tie your argument to something by quoting and paraphrasing from other sources. Otherwise, persuasive arguments can become tangents—lacking purpose
• Define the topic being investigated (give examples, interpret, and explain your topic through research)
This essay needs to be a minimum of 3 pages (5 is the ceiling), in 12 pt. font/Times New Roman, and in MLA format. You will be minimally graded on the format of a Works Cited page for this paper. Final Draft- (300 points) Papers that are short of the minimum length requirement will be greatly penalized (at least a letter grade per half page or paragraph that is missing)
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