Journ391: Assignment #2–week 2


I stumbled across some interesting letters and there are two that caught my eye.

The first article and its response regard a declaration that America needs to lighten the loads of students for fear of hurting their futures while the response says the exact opposite.

The article is pretty powerful and a string of quotes does a good job summing it up:

“These are human beings, not cars on an assembly line,’’ producer Vicki Abeles said by phone from her home in the San Francisco Bay area. “Do we want a generation of good test-takers, or people who can actually think and solve problems?’’

“I don’t want to put it all on the education system,’’ she said. “Schools are just a microcosm of the larger culture. We need to think about changing our mind-set, and this film has the power to do that.’’

Here, we can see that the producer (who is a mother of three children) directed this film out of fear for her own children’s clinically depressive states. Here children became depressed about school and as a result, she produced a now national film called “Race To Nowhere.” As you can see above, Vicki feels that the schools are pushing students so hard, almost assembly line style. She fears that the educational system is actually doing more harm than good as it revokes the question: “Who am I?” that youths typically ask themselves. She feels that schools dominate the society in a way that is regressive towards the future of a student. That overloading students with tests, exams and homework does not teach them how to survive in society. Even worse, she mostly vouches on behalf of high school students as there isn’t much content about that of a college student, or even a grad student – both of whom have far more work on the daily. The writer of the article kind of pulled a Tracy Jan here too because almost all of her quotes and representation came from high schoolers and Ms. Abels.  James Sullivan represents just one high schooler from Broomfield High a few parents and some administrators. His article is completely one-sided and doesn’t even represent the nature of the situation. Which brings me to the letter to the editor, who disagrees strongly with the argument from the article.

Martha Sieniewicz of Cambridge, Mass. says,

We need all our students, especially those with the most privilege and opportunity, to realize that if they don’t buckle down and help their country invent its way to a brighter future, no one else will.

She preaches of the disparity in truth and the over-dramatization of the article. She believes that students need to buckle down and do the work because they are tomorrow’s leaders and they can’t be babied all throughout school. Taking the load off of them, easing the pressure, arguably makes students lazier and unwilling to motivate themselves to do as best as they possibly can. If they are the brighter  picture and future to success then we cannot afford to let them fall off track. She continues by pointing out the looming economic crisis as a threat to the dreams of upper and middle class wages. Keeping the students hopes and dreams high while eliminating the reality of what is actually going on only creates good test takers and not good thinkers – as in their ability to think in terms of the environment, the situation and what is actually going on after school.

In summary, it mainly caught my attention because I am a student and it captured my interest. Once I read both pieces I felt as though it was written by the ghost of Tracy Jan, who frequently writes without the term, ‘objectivity’ in her repitiore.

Finally, the second letter, which I didn’t write about because I felt stronger about the one above, is here, which argues that the school calendar should be changed to eliminate  February and April Vacations. This would mean less of a choppy schedule with the excessive amount of snow days that we have.  Of course the argument here is that a former school teacher has written this article, which is already a ‘tainted’ opinion, in a journalistic sense of course.

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