GRE Argument Essay 220
The following appeared in the editorial section of an educational publication.
“One study at Lee University found that first-semester grades of teenage students who had always attended public, tax-supported schools were slightly lower than the grades of students who had received some home schooling instruction by parents at home, although the grade differences disappeared in the second semester. These results suggest that home schooling is the best way to educate teenage children. Therefore, instead of spending more money on public education, the government should provide financial incentives so that home schooling is an option for more parents. After all, children schooled at home receive more attention, since they are taught by the best possible teacher: a parent who has a high stake in educating them well.”
The writer of the above given argument is of the view that the government should provide financial support to home schooling since it is a better way to educate teenage students. He refers to a study in which it was found that the first semester grades of teenage students receiving home education were higher than those receiving education in government schools. The writer advocates his point in the argument, but the same fails to convince the reader since it lacks logic and reasoning. In the following discussion, the flaws of the argument are exposed.
Firstly, the writer mentions that the grades of teenage students who had attended public schools were only slightly lower than those receiving home schooling in first-semester. In that case, it makes the reader wonder if there is actually a great difference in the quality of education in public schools and home schooling. It is only if there is a great margin between the grades of the students from these schools that a convincing conclusion can be drawn. Moreover, since these differences disappear in the second-semester, one doubts if it is related to lack of good education in school. If the students have not formed a strong base in school, they would continue to get lower grades in the second-semester as well. Hence, this does not prove convincingly that the students receiving home education are better educated than those receiving education in public aided schools.
The writer seems to conclude from the grades received in the first-semester that public school students are weaker than students receiving home education. However, the writer needs to provide convincing statistics to bring validity to his stand. Moreover, this is not a genuine criterion to judge which the best way of teaching is. Home schooling isolates the children, whereas public schooling helps in bringing them together under one roof. There is more exchange of ideas and mutual influence in public schooling. Hence, public schooling also has its benefits.
Further, the writer ignores the possibility where the parents are incapable of teaching their children due to various reasons. It is possible that parents are working, or not educated enough to teach their children at home. Moreover, public schooling provides education to the financially weaker sections of the society. Therefore, it is very essential for the government to support these schools and provide financial incentives to them.
Taking the writer’s stand about public education to be true, it does not mean that the government should stop spending on public schools. Instead, efforts should be made to identify the problems faced by these schools and enough money should be spent on them to bring them up and improve the quality of education. For example, it is possible that there is lack of teaching staff or study material in these schools. Therefore, it is only if these deficiencies in these schools are fulfilled that they will be able to impart good education amongst students.
Overall, the argument is incapable of giving a convincing and logical suggestion. The writer must take into consideration the above given discussion and think again about the system of education.