In his article, John Derbyshire wrote about the challenge of improving the children’s academic performance. He documented that a few years ago, New York City Mayor took the Rand Corporation’s service in raising the students of public schools’ examination score by providing cash bonuses for those teachers who will have an improved class. As he continued with his article, Derbyshire used different styles in writing to persuade his readers. Based on his attempts to persuade his audiences, rhetorical strategies were used such as logos, ethos and pathos. However, there were clear manifestations of logical fallacies in his article, which will be discussed along with the article’s strengths and weaknesses.
He introduced his article by telling his readers how he feels about the politicians who always talk about education, yet claiming that they really know what they are talking about. The article’s introduction, though it portrays that the readers could become interested to continue reading the succeeding paragraphs, it may have not appealed as appropriately ethical. Even though his credibility as a writer was not measured at this pint, he could have used some ethical appeals to establish his good character. It could be true that some politicians may not really know what they are talking about when it comes to education, as there may still have many lapses in our education system. However, Derbyshire could have made it better than expressing his personal feelings right from the start.
On the other hand, Derbyshire was able to persuade his audiences when he wrote about the results of the experiment done a few years ago, which was none. He wrote this claim logically using his inductive reasoning technique as his arguments in this part were based on the reliable evidence such as the New York Post. In addition, he was able to show his credibility as he ethically supported his argument based on the credible source.
Upon reading the article it was obvious that Derbyshire was emotional with his thoughts about the topic. He even emphasized some reasons of his arguments, but there were parts of his article in which his emotions were not properly placed. For example, when he was discussing the results of the experiment done by New York City government. It could be true that there were no good results with such experiment, which in fact, he supported his claim based on the quotes from his source. However, he ended this paragraph by repeating his introductory emotion such as his lapel-grab impulse.
The next paragraph after the argument about the experiment result is another program done by the same New York City Mayor. Derbyshire expressed his emotions through his writing style, but this time, logical fallacies were evident. First, he appealed to his emotions through ad hominem form of writing when he attacked the character of New York City Mayor by calling him a fool. Then, he also attacked the city itself by tagging it as a heading-for-bankruptcy city (Derbyshire, 2011) when he was trying to discuss the conditional cash transfer program of the New York City government. He may have criticized the New York City’s effort in a more appropriate way than tagging inappropriate terminologies. Thus, the mayor’s effort was really for the development if the educational skills of the students, but the results were not as expected. In line with this program, there could have been some issues and challenges that the government was not able to anticipate prior its implementation of such project.
When Derbyshire wrote his assessment about the schools in the United States, it was another good exercise of using another supporting claim such as the PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment. He described the schools as perfect or at least highly efficient (Derbyshire, 2011). However, based on how he wrote his argument might have been too generalized. His argument saying that the USA students are at the top based on the PISA test results may be true based on what he red about it. However, it was a quite hasty generalization on the part of the students of other race, as he did not include any concrete evidence, where he based his argument. Additionally, his arguments that lacked evidence are when he said that Asians in the United States were better than Japanese and Koreans. It was good to know that US students are better than the others based on the test results. However, his arguments could have been more credible than what was written if he added and emphasized some evidence-base claims.
John Derbyshire on the other hand, was successful in persuading his other emotional appeal in his article such as the last paragraph. He wrote what is happening in the reality that there are teachers who child-mind the other high-school students. There was an emotion that addresses some issues that hinder the educational development of our high-school students such as ensuring that there is a better way.
John Derbyshire’s article was an emotional one. The way he persuades his reader is by telling them the reality, which is also his article’s strength. Although there may have been some logical fallacies, which is the article’s weakness, he may have been able to convince his audience based on his writing style. However, if we look at the technicalities of his article, it was evident that his attempts to persuade his readers were a combination of rhetorical strategies. On the other hand, if we look at his writing objective, he successfully achieved what he was aiming for.
Derbyshire, J. (2011, July 21). What Shall We Do With the Kids? - Taki's Magazine. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://takimag.com/article/what_shall_we_do_with_the_kids/print#axzz2zCqxmUsW