Archive of ‘Drafts’ category

Persuasive Essay Draft

Topic: Tracking in Public Schools

Thesis Statement: Used in the majority of public schools throughout the United States, the tracking system has been linked to negative outcomes for minority and low-track students; with that said, the current system begs for reform that will decrease the prominence of stratification and minimize the achievement gap.

Audience: Current/Future Public-School Educators where tracking exists

Interesting Introduction: As a college student, education-enthusiast, and future educator, I believe in the power of a strong public school system that fulfills the dream of serving as the “great equalizer.” They have the potential to educate, guide, motivate, and enrich every student throughout the United States. However, such a system cannot be achieved without recognizing and targeting its current shortcomings; ignoring the prevailing and institutionalized problems in the system only harms those who experience them: students. With that said, one major problem that is present in our educational system proves to be the poor implementation of tracking throughout the majority of our secondary public schools. Minority and low-track students aren’t receiving the equal education that they deserve, as they suffer from the negative consequences of the widely used system.

Outline of the Essay:

  1. Introduction
    1. Thesis: Used in the majority of public schools throughout the United States, the tracking system has been linked to negative outcomes for minority and low-track students; with that said, the current system begs for reform that will decrease the prominence of stratification and minimize the achievement gap.
  2. What is tracking?
    1. Definition
    2. History
    3. Area of use
  3. What are the implications?
    1. Cite research
      1. Prevalence of tracking
      2. Effects of tracking on students
        1. Who does it hurt?
        2. Who does it help?
        3. How does curriculum/instruction differ in each track?
        4. What’s the correlation between track and race, SES, graduation rates, etc.
        5. Does it allow for upward mobility?
  4. Why do we need to reform the current model?
    1. Equality should be of the utmost importance
    2. The system hurts the students in the lower tracks
    3. Use examples of schools that have modified the original, most popular tracking model
  5. Conclusion
    1. Next steps
      1. Educators should ensure that the “best” teachers in a school aren’t only teaching the upper tracks
      2. Equalize the curriculum for all tracks
      3. Raise the expectations for the low tracks
      4. Factors unrelated to academic ability (race, SES, etc.) cannot play a role in the track placement of a student
      5. Allow for more student choice and upward mobility; eliminate the rigid requirements and prerequisites
    2. Dedication to students and their futures
    3. If we have the facts, we need to act. Reading the literature won’t solve anything.

Source List:

  4. Brodbelt, Samuel. “How Tracking Restricts Educational Opportunity.” The Clearing House, vol. 64, no. 6, 1991, pp. 385–388. JSTOR, JSTOR,
  5. Burris, Carol Corbett, and Kevin G. Welner. “Closing the Achievement Gap by Detracking.” The Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 86, no. 8, 2005, pp. 594–598. JSTOR, JSTOR,
  6. Oakes, Jeannie. “BEYOND TRACKING.” Educational Horizons, vol. 65, no. 1, 1986, pp. 32–35. JSTOR, JSTOR,

The History of a Public Controversy Contract

The History of a Public Controversy

Group Members: Emma Barber, Noelia Ortiz-Landazabal, Ava Self, Anushka Shah, Taylor Young, Anna Zuckerman

Topic: Segregation in Schools

Segregation in Schools

Working Thesis: Segregation in schools is a problem in the public-schools of the USA, so we want to show how this is a prevalent issue, which not only happens among schools, but also within classes


What is the controversy? (Does it exist? Yes/No How do we know it’s a controversy? Explain.)

  1. Current state of segregation in schools
    1. How did we get here?
    2. How did it arise?
    3. What has influenced it?
  2. Legislation regarding segregation
    1. Bussing
    2. Magnet schools
  3. How does segregation affect students?
    1. Achievement gap
    2. Access to resources
    3. Quality of life
  4. How is this going to impact the future of public school education?
    1. Betsy DeVos
    2. Vouchers
    3. School choice
  5. Explicit Examples
    1. Empirical Evidence
    2. Find schools where integration works
    3. Find schools that are segregated
  6. Address the other side of the argument; it doesn’t exist
  7. Questions that come up from research?

Division of Research

In this chart, we distribute the research among our group members to complete this aspect of the project more efficiently. To ensure overlap and thorough research of each major question, each member has been assigned at least three topics. Everyone was able to pick their own topics to research, so all group members have had a say in this process. In addition to researching, we will summarize and take notes from our research and add that material to a separate folder for research.

Research Topic Group Members
History of school segregation? Anna Taylor Ava
Legislation on school segregation? Anna Noelia Emma
How does segregation affect students? Noelia Ava Emma
How is it going to impact the future of public school education? Ava Anushka Taylor
Explicit Examples: Noelia Emma Anushka
Other side: It doesn’t exist: Anna Anushka Taylor
Other that arises from research Free to anyone Free to anyone Free to anyone


Member Roles

In this chart, we have assigned two people to serve as the team leaders for each major part of the assignment. These roles do not mean that we will not work together on all aspects, rather they help to better organize the structure of our group, so we can accomplish each task more efficiently.

Task Team Leaders
Organizing Research Emma Anushka
Writing Script/Story board Ava Taylor
Filming Video Anna Noelia
Editing Video Everyone Everyone


Ted Talk Script Draft

TED Talk Outline


Standards and Accountability in the United States Education System


Explain how No Child Left Behind did not interpret reported data from schools correctly.


No Child Left Behind incorrectly interpreted data reported by schools not only by lacking to consider the factors affecting the results, but also judging their effectivity and success based upon a very surface level rank order system.


  • Let’s take two imaginary high schools. One is called Penn State and the other is Michigan.
  • Penn State is ranked 41st and Michigan is ranked 40th in the state based off of reported 8th grade math results.
  • Penn State’s reported mean score was 66.5 and Michigan’s was 68.
  • At first glance, Michigan looks like the better high school, since it’s ranked better than Penn State.
  • But should we trust this conclusion?
  • Let’s look at last year’s scores.
  • Penn State reported 42 and Michigan 72.
  • Penn State made significant improvement over the year, and Michigan got decreased their improvement.
  • Somehow Michigan gets ranked higher than us, even though we’re showing evidence of more growth.
  • How does this make sense? That’s the thing, it doesn’t.
  • This exact scenario is what happened to schools as a result of No Child Left Behind.
  • I’ve wanted to be a public-school teacher for as long as I can remember, and I believe in the importance of equal education.
  • One of the ways we’re going to achieve this is holding schools accountable and having high standards. I think this is very important.
  • While No Child Left Behind aimed to reach this very goal, it was written and implemented in a way that not only resulted in a drastic shift in education, but also detrimental effects to schools and education itself.


  • Main Idea– Variables
    • No Child Left Behind did not take into consideration the endless variables that are bound to change the scores reported each year
      • Factors not within the control of schools
        • The particular group of students tested in a given school year
        • School size
        • Corruption of indicators
      • Manipulation to better scores
        • Over identification of students into special ed. programs to create exemptions from accountability
        • Greater likelihood of classifying English Language Learners as special ed. once their English language window expired
  • Main Idea– Ranking
    • A concept called Academic Yearly Progress was determined by rank ordering schools based on assessment results
      • Schools are labeled based off of their results
        • If ranked at the top, a school is successful and effective
        • If ranked at the bottom, a school is unsuccessful and ineffective
      • Repercussions for not attaining AYP
        • Consequences
        • Sanctions


  • No Child Left Behind had good intentions, but the actual piece of legislation was a mess.
  • Ensuring that schools are providing equal educational opportunities is crucial.
  • Labeling schools as effective and successful based off of a single number like No Child Left Behind did is exactly what we’re taught not to do in schools
  • Critical thinking skills are always emphasized, because there’s always more to the story than just what is presented at the surface level
  • If we truly want education to be equal, which I know we all do, then we need to dig deeper when it comes to educational legislation
  • When a single piece of legislation can not only affect our schools, but also the roots of education itself, it shows just how much time, effort, passion, and experience we need to weave into our legislation.


  • Duran, Alex. “Factors to Consider When Evaluating School Accountability Results.” Journal of Law & Education 34.1 (2005): 73-100.

Paradigm Shift Essay Outline

Paradigm Shift Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Discuss the state of our educational system
    2. Explain what the concept of equality of educational opportunity is and where/how it developed
    3. Identify the shift
    4. Thesis: With the goal of achieving equality of educational opportunity, the educational system in the United States initially focused on the issue of access; however, as the perception of equality has evolved, the system now places a much larger emphasis on equality of results, negatively impacting the environment of public schools.
  2. Access
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
    4. Tries to ensure that if everyone has the same education, students will be educated equally
  3. Prove the shift
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
  4. Equality of Results
    1. Evidence
    2. Example
    3. Argument
    4. Tries to ensure that despite the inputs, students’ outputs will be equal
  5. Causes and Implications of Equality of Results
    1. Unrealistic standards of accountability
      1. Evidence/Example
    2. Stress/anxiety for students and educators
      1. Evidence/Example
    3. Students/Educators seen as numbers
      1. Evidence/Example
  6. Conclusion
    1. Equality of results should not be used to achieve equality of educational opportunity
    2. There are too many variables contributing to a students’ performance
    3. Equality of Results negatively impacts the purpose of education
    4. There needs to be a new way to ensure equality of educational opportunity

Rhetorical Analysis Draft: The GED

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Draft: The GED

            Education is one of the most important pillars of American society. Serving as a foundation for children to develop through a microcosm of democracy and prepare for reality, the level of education can often predict one’s success in the future. Receiving an education and meeting all of the requirements in a timely manner often results in the earning of a high school diploma. While the high school diploma serves as the most common membership pass for students to take on a new, less defined role in society as active citizens in democracy, it is not the only means of transitioning from secondary school to the real world. With the belief that “one decision shouldn’t define a lifetime,” the General Education Development (GED) “test was created in 1942 as a second-chance opportunity” for individuals to earn a certificate with high school equivalency (1ST CITATION HERE). While the GED not only serves as a second opportunity for individuals to receive an education that can change their life, but also demonstrates that it is never too late to learn, it is often accompanied with a negative connotation, diminishing the value of the certificate and the effort put forth from the individual.

In this paragraph, I want to talk about why second chances, especially in education, are crucial. We’ve all experienced second chances, whether it was a teacher allowing you to turn an assignment in late or redo a quiz. The important point here is that if we don’t allow second chances, we’ll never allow anyone to succeed. No one can be perfect the first time they attempt something, and sometimes, there are certain circumstances that inhibit someone from finishing school. Think about illness, family struggles, lack of money, etc.

After analyzing the importance of second chances, I’m going to tackle the idea that it is never too late to learn. The GED shows that although you may not be in high school anymore, the education is still important. It is needed to be successful in life, and the GED allows you the opportunity to be educated properly, even if you couldn’t finish high school. I plan on discussing how earning this opportunity is better to be attained later than never; it can be life changing.

Although the GED is recognized as the equivalent of a high school education, it is associated with a negative connotation. There is a stigma surrounding the GED that can make people hesitant about pursuing it. Why should someone be looked down upon for wanting to receive an education? Where did this stigma arise? In addition, this means that there is a stereotype associated with the people earning a GED. These people are often classified as unmotivated, dropouts, lazy, incapable, and so one. In doing so, we are ultimately insulting ourselves by calling other people these names, because our education is considered equivalent.

The GED allows members of our society to be successful. It is a second chance at earning an education that makes a difference in the lives of people who were not able to successfully accomplish the task at the first try. While the GED was created with the idea of giving people a second chance at education, and it has proven successful in doing so, it has also been associated with the wrong meaning. The GED is a prime example of the importance of persistence and hard work; just because something doesn’t exactly work out the first time doesn’t mean one should give up. The GED is the quintessential representation of why education is so crucial; it is difficult to be successful without it in our society.


Works Cited

“What Is the GED Test?” GED Testing Service,


High School Diploma: Civic Artifact Speech Outline

Taylor Marie Young

English 137H

Teresa Hamilton

21 September 2017

Civic Artifact Speech Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. About four or five months ago, each and every one of us experienced one of the greatest senses of accomplishment: graduating high school. After years of learning basic skills and developing more complex ones, experiencing enriching programs, excelling in academics and extracurricular activities, growing as learners, and proving the extent of our dedication and hard work, we all accomplished the same thing together. While we may not have been together physically, we were together in the sense that we all earned a high school diploma.
    2. But what’s the meaning behind the dignified certificate? Sure, it definitely means that the receiver has achieved successful completion of the educational requirements according to the given state.
    3. However, the high school diploma is our official, lifetime membership to be active citizens in our democracy.
      1. An induction into democracy
  2. In the classroom
    1. Transition: Before we could receive our membership passes, we had to go through training, which ended up being about thirteen years of schooling for the most of us. We had to prove that we were qualified to be a part of society.
    2. For five days out of the week from kindergarten to senior year, we were exposed to a microcosm of democracy.
      1. Pride for the country through the Pledge of Allegiance
      2. Having classroom responsibilities that equate to being active members of society
      3. Elections for organizations such as Student Government
  3. In the real world
    1. Transition: Ultimately, our training to receive a high school diploma, or our membership pass to democracy, comes to an end. We meet the state requirements for finishing school, and we graduate.
    2. Our duty of serving as students may have ended, but our membership pass allows us to take on a new role: active citizens in our democracy.
      1. Apply diploma to better society
        1. Through furthering education to pursue a career
        2. Through continuing a family business
        3. Through being a stay at home parent
  4. Conclusion
    1. If each and every one of us takes advantage of the high school diploma we all worked so hard to receive, we’ll fulfill our responsibility of being active citizens. Just by deciding to further our education here at Penn State, we’ve decided that we will serve our country in some way to ensure it keeps improving. Our membership pass lasts a lifetime, and there are no restrictions. Whatever we decide to do will shape future generations and how they perceive the importance of education and earning a high school diploma.