Essay 5 Topics
The final essay in our course is a research/synthesis paper. Here are several topics to choose from; if you do not want to write on one of these topics, you must get approval of your topic, as explained in your proposal memo, before you proceed.
Topics related to our readings
- Stephen King, "Reading to Write"
- King's article refers to television, but what about the Internet? Research the effects the Internet has had on literacy, especially among school-age children. Are there any studies which discuss the differences in reading and writing abilities between children who are heavy users of the Internet and social media compared with children who have little to no exposure?
- Gloria Anzaldúa, "How to Tame a Wild Tongue"
- When the book from which this excerpt comes was published in 1987, much attention was being paid to multiculturalism and reactions against it—a conflict often called the "culture wars." Research this controversy and discuss the different political and philosophical visions informing the conflicting positions. What, if anything, has changed in the USA in the last 35 years? How might the "culture wars" affect our future?
- Frederick Douglass, "Learning to Read and Write"
- A common topic of conversation among educators concerns the ultimate goal of learning. One version of this conversation is about the tension between instrumentalist goals—you learn to prepare yourself to do certain things, such as a particular job—and the goal of knowledge for its own sake. Research this debate and what Douglass has to say about education in that light. How does this distinction make sense in his situation? Should education—especially college-level education—be primarily instrumentalist, or should it pursue knowledge for its own sake?
- Slave owners had other strategies for keeping control of their slaves besides keeping them illiterate. How else did they maintain control? Was there more than simple physical abuse?
- Research the history of the abolitionist movement and the place Douglass had in it. How did Northerners receive him? How effective was he?
- Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had distinctly different attitudes toward education of African-Americans. After doing some research on both, evaluate their impact upon the education of Black Americans.
- Rahawa Haile, "Going It Alone"
- Haile mentions Harriet Tubman as "one of the most important outdoor figures in American history." Who was she? Why is she interesting and important?
- America's public lands, for example the Appalachian Trail, are a unique resource and frequently are political targets. Research their history, when and how the land got set aside, and some of the recent conflicts concerning public lands.
- Nancy Mairs, "On Being a Cripple"
- Research the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). What is its history? What good does it do? How much does it cost? Does it benefit non-disabled persons?
- Research Franklin Delano Roosevelt's physical disability. While some attitudes and laws have changed since the 1940s, do you think they have changed enough that if he were president today, he could (or would) act differently about his disability? Make an argument based on evidence including current laws and current politicians.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Paranoid Style of American Policing"
- Since this essay was published in 2015, we have seen many very public outcries about inappropriate police action. What has been the effect of all this public attention upon America's police departments? Has anything changed in the past seven years?
- Mike Rose, "I Just Wanna Be Average"
- The private school Rose attended was apparently poorly-supervised and the teachers were under-qualified. How does Ohio supervise its non-public schools? How does our supervision compare with what other states do? And how does our supervision of non-public schools compare with the way we handle public education?
- Research the recent emphasis on standardized testing in public education through initiatives such as No Child Left Behind. What are the arguments for and against the increased use of testing? Do you find one set of arguments more compelling? If so, for what reasons? If not, are there further studies you think need to be done on the issue? Describe them.
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.
Revised 12/31/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.