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 letter concludes that Parson City residents place higher value on providing good education in public schools than the residents of Blue City. This conclusion of the letter is preceded by one main argument, the cities of the region Trillura differ in the budgetary priority they give to public education and that parson city has spent twice as much as blue city on public schools. It is natural for different cities to have different budgetary priorities according to the needs and problems of that particular city and so the arguer’s generalised conclusion based on the budgetary allocation of two cities is specious which renders it weak and as such needs to be scrutinised.
Firstly, the arguer points out that recently parson city has spent twice as much per year as Blue city on public schools. The arguer uses the word ‘recently’ which leads us to the question, is it only recently that Parson city has spent more on public schools. The arguer provides no information of the past expenditures of Parson city on public schools. It could be that in the past, Parson city didn’t spent anything at all on public schools, so now this one year they are spending almost twice. Blue city could have been more consistent on their spending on public schools on an yearly basis and as such no such exception were made for any particular year. So the arguer needs to get a detailed report on the amount allocation from budget on public schools from past years and compare to conclude the argument.
Secondly, the arguer doesn’t take into consideration the condition of the city run public schools in Parson city. There is no data on the number of such city run schools in Parson city. There could be many reasons for the allocation of more money for city run schools in parson city. What if there are very few city run schools in Parson city and they are spending more money to build more schools. Although the arguer mentions that they have equal number of residents in Parson city and blue city, but there is no mention of the number of school going kids in both the cities. Another reason could be that, the number of residents in blue city in the school goer age group is less and as such the government do not have to spend on building more schools.
So, the arguer’s conclusion doesn’t hold much ground as some basic questions have not been taken into consideration. The arguer should dig deeper with the budgetary priority of the cities from past year and check the statistics of the number of school going kids, the number of public and private school in both the cities to properly conclude his/her letter.
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