You should be prepared to answer each of the following questions with a fully-developed paragraph that includes references to the texts and videos we’ve discussed, our notes, and your insight. On the test itself, you will answer five questions from a list of six.

  1. Using at least three sources, one of whom should be Socrates, explain why self-education is more effective than the current system of public education.
  2. In his article “Dehumanized,” Mark Slouka argues that our current educational focus undermines civic life in America. What is his problem with current educational trends and what does he propose to do to reverse them?
  3. Explain how Paolo Freire’s “subject-object” metaphor drives his beliefs about education.
  4. How, according to Jonathan Kozol, does the belief in “adequacy” undermine the promise of Brown v. Board of Education? Try to specifically address issues related to taxes and accountability.
  5. Kenneth Robinson discussed the futility of trying to prepare students for specific jobs. Why does he believe this cannot succeed?
  6. How can the work of Eric Hanushek from Stanford improve American schools?
  7. Explain Paolo Freire’s banking metaphor and summarize why he thinks it damages students.
  8. John Taylor Gatto offered a critique of public schools centered on the idea that schools discourage individuality, freedom, and maturity. Explain his view of these arguments.
  9. Using the film Waiting for Superman and at least two other sources, make the argument that American schools are failing the poorest of students.
  10. Defend, refute, or qualify Jonathan Kozol’s argument that American schools are engaging in “apartheid.”


Your fifth exciting essay is due on Sunday, November 4 at noon and is the same topic we used for the test on Thursday. The essay you submit should reflect substantial revision from the essay you wrote in class unless a) you are incredibly brilliant and or b) you don’t want to have the chance to revise this piece.

The prompt is located in the Downloads folder. Please read it carefully to make sure you meet all of the requirements of the essay.

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Do the life and death of Jay Gatsby demonstrate this claim or refute it? Does the novel ultimately argue that one can never re-invent himself? Do we have the capacity to become someone entirely new if we commit to the new person or will the ghosts of the past always pull us back?
  2. How does the motif of accidents reflect the cynicism of the Modernist worldview?
  3. What is ultimately the most to blame for the tragic end of the novel: Tom’s philandering, Gatsby’s nostalgic desire for the past, Daisy’s selfishness, or Nick’s silence?
  4. Fitzgerald is known as the preeminent chronicler of the Jazz Age, perhaps better depicting its excesses and virtues better than anyone. How does Nick Caraway demonstrate both attraction to and repulsion from the lives of the incredibly rich inhabitants of Long Island?
  5. Does the novel argue that Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero responsible for his own downfall or is it a critique of a society in which romanticism is no longer allowed/permitted?

Your revisions for your welfare essay will be due in class on Thursday, October 4. Please make sure that you have highlighted/bolded all changes, included the checklist, and stapled all three parts together for class.

Some additional resources to use:

Make sure that your revisions reflect careful work that has been proofread and reviewed carefully.

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