Essay topics: The following appeared in a letter to the editor of Parson City's local newspaper.
"In our region of Trillura, the majority of money spent on the schools that most students attend—the city-run public schools—comes from taxes that each city government collects. The region's cities differ, however, in the budgetary priority they give to public education. For example, both as a proportion of its overall tax revenues and in absolute terms, Parson City has recently spent almost twice as much per year as Blue City has for its public schools—even though both cities have about the same number of residents. Clearly, Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education in public schools than Blue City residents do."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The argument above is well-presented and appears to be relatively sound at first glance: because the amount of tax spent on public schools are higher in Parson City than the amount spent in Blue City, it seems cogent to consider that the residents in Parson City place greater emphasis on providing a good education in public schools than those in Blue City. However, more light is shed on the issue and more detailed facts are concerned, the lack of solid evidence leads me to question the validity of the argument.
First of all, the author should provide more concrete evidence on the statistics of residents in both cities. The author hastily assumes that a number of students in Parson and Blue City are similar since there is the same number of residents in both cities. However, he/she should take into account the possibility that despite the same number of residents in these cities, a number of students who live in Parson override a number of students in Blue City. If it would be the case, it is not logical to suggest that the residents in Parson place more emphasis on education than those in Blue City.
In addition, the author should supplement the argument with more information on the recent spending of Parson City. Since Parson City has recently spent twice as much per year as Blue City has for public school system, the author assumes that this trend on spending will continue in the future. However, it should be noted that the current priority on public education is an aberration. In other words, the Parson City has spent more money on public schools not because of its educational system but because of other reasons such as reconstructing old school buildings. Therefore, the author should provide more valid evidence on the recent budgetary spending of Parson City.
Lastly, the author should corroborate the soundness of the conclusion that the Parson City residents place a higher value on providing a good education than Blue City residents do. It is possible that the Blue City has spend less money on public schools because a number of students going to private schools exceeds a number of students going to public school. Due to this unique condition, the Blue City could have used less money on public schools. On the other hand, in Parson City, most students go to public schools, so the amount of money spent on public school was greater in Parson. In this case, that author’s conclusion that the Parson City residents place more weight on a good education in public schools than the Blue City residents do can be weaken.
In conclusion, the argument made by the author is not persuasive in many respects. To bolster the argument, the author should provide more concrete evidence on statistics of residents, validity of recent spending of Parson City and the soundness of the conclusion.
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