While trying to explain his opinions on primary education, Holt ultimately weakens his argument through hasty generalization, and non sequitur. From the beginning of his essay, Holt constrains students and teachers into respective stereotypes. He makes a student out to be a conniving private who cons the sergeant into thinking he is working when, in reality, the student is doing the least amount of work possible (73). Holt portrays the teacher as an enforcer who discourages questions and curiosity and encourages dishonesty and apathy (73-74). In this no-win situation, both the students and the teachers are villains. Even if these characteristic are true in some cases, they cannot be applied, unfailingly to every student and teacher. Though some students may cheat their way through school, many put in an honest effort for different reasons. Likewise, many teachers are not inherently out to corrupt children. Teachers have chosen to become educator...
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...ates his ideas on how to better the school system, he addresses his audience as “we” (72-76). He says “we should abolish compulsory school attendance” (74), or “we need to bring… people who are not full-time teachers into the schools” (75). With these examples, it is unclear who the “we” includes. He finally goes on to qualify it with “we teachers” (76). This limitation contradicts his own view of educators. Holt is assuming they want to join him in improving the school system when these are the same instructors he already accused of teaching students how to “dodge, bluff, fake, [and] cheat” (73). If Holt had chosen to address a more extensive group, like the parents of students, he could have potentially improved the number of supporters he had in implementing his ideas. Nevertheless, even if he had the support, his propositions are unrealistic in most of America.
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