Thought Paper Information and Requirements .
BELLOW IS A SUMMARY of requirements. Make sure you read the full set of requirements attached in the resources below.
This assignment serves the purpose of getting you to critically and factually respond in brief format to a specific critical debate within our democracy; school vouchers. I have provided a number of sources from which to draw but you may also use your own in developing your responses. These sources can be cited, but cannot count toward your overall required number of sources in the paper. The provided sources are a good starting point for building your initial knowledge of the topic as well as your awareness of what good resources “look like.”
To successfully complete your submission, make sure your paper meets all the following:
Voucher Thought Paper Guidelines
A large issue in modern Texas politics is the idea of school choice; whether or not money in the Texas general revenue fund from taxes should be given to the parents of students who want to move their children to another school; whether private, parochial, charter, etc. School vouchers are also given names like “school choice”, “education tax credits”, “parent choice”. If you input a Google query “pros and cons of school vouchers” you will immediately return approximately 28 million hits in less than a second. (2021).
Submit the assignment as a Word Document.
Submit to Drop Box in D2L in the Thought Paper Assignment Tab when complete.
Use standard margins on your pages (you should not have to change anything when you open Word).
Use 12-point Times New Roman Font.
Have a heading with your name, the date, and the course information in the top LEFT corner.
Double space the body of your paper (not the heading and title).
Use parenthetical citations of information taken from sources within the body of your paper.
Final paper must be between 800 and 1,000 words (any more or less will result in the reduction of the final score by a letter grade).
Have at least four academically sound sources (like major national newspapers, peer-reviewed journal articles, or scholarly research) that are not the samples I have provided for you. They must go beyond simply helping you define your subject. They must include facts, data, and research that support your ultimate conclusions.
Include a pro/con data table.
Make sure no more than 20% of your paper may be taken from other sources. If your TurnItIn percentage crosses this, you will automatically lose a letter grade.
Use in-text parenthetical citations within the document when you are quoting or using information from a source.
Include a Works Cited (MLA) or Reference List (Chicago Style author-date citations), on a separate page at the end of the paper.
Citations do not count toward your overall word count.
Questions that must be answered within the context of your overall response:
What are the primary arguments supporters and opponents of the issue make?
What does the research show about benefits and detriments of a system like vouchers?
What does the research show about the effectiveness of voucher programs?
Who is helped/hurt by such plans? (demographic groups, economic groups, regional groups, etc.)? And what is the evidence?
The closing of your paper must reflect your final position after evaluating the facts and research. Remember that you are not to allow family/friend/supervisor bias to color your response. You also want to make sure that you are checking your sources: Are the data coming from a group that supports or opposes vouchers? That is not a good source. Do not allow the media and the politician sound bites to capture your opinion simply because it sounds good or fits with your preconceived notion. Look at the facts and decide for yourself based on the numbers and the evidence.
Required Information Table:
On a separate page after the end of the written portion of your paper you need to create a table that clearly lays out in contrast data you have found in support and opposition to school voucher programs.
Some quick facts about funding education in Texas:
Texas is 48th among the states in the amount of money it spends per student per year in the classroom. Texas = $10,456; National Average ~$12,800. Texplainer from the Texas Tribune. 2018. (https://www.texastribune.org/2018/05/15/texas-student-teacher-spending-average/)
In the 2011 legislative session the Texas legislature cut more than $5.4 Billion from state education funding for the years 2012 and 2013. That funding wasn’t replaced until 2017, while the enrollment in Texas public schools had expanded by about 200k students.
Texas has a “Rainy Day Fund” which holds over $10 Billion in reserve funds in 2021.
Texas educates approximately 10% of the public-school students in the nation, with over 5 Million students enrolled in Texas public schools..
Some other considerations: (Should be addressed when you take a position)
What are the standards for admittance to a public school? Private? Charter? Academies/Prep Schools?
How do students get to and from schools?
In which programs are performance standards more rigorous?
What programs are offered in each kind of school setting for students with special needs (life skills, special education, economically disadvantaged, gifted and talented, etc.)?
How many / What percentage of Texas students would a program like this really make a difference for in where they are educated?
Thought Paper Information and Requirements .