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Essay: instructions and model

I wrote about private vs public schools- test scores? However, I need help.

The paper should be your original synthesis of ideas in support of your thesis. Explain your reasoning by integrating supporting expert views and evidence (facts, statistics, case studies, etc) from your sources. Sources should be appropriately paraphrased, directly quoted and cited. The submitted document must be formatted as an APA manuscript and include a title page, abstract, essay and references.

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The contents of the attached solution document are copied and pasted here for you to see, but this text box does not preserve the formatting that the document does - like italics required for APA citations.

To begin the actual essay now that you have chosen a topic and crafted a thesis statement, I suggest that you use a technique called brainstorming. Write down all the ideas you have about your topic in a limited amount of time - say five minutes. Once you have this list, it is time to evaluate your ideas. Look at the list, and put ideas that are addressing the same aspect of the topic together. Then, rank the ideas from most important to least important. If two ideas are related, treat them as one idea in the ranking. When you do this, you are creating an informal outline for your paper, and organizing your thoughts.

When I do this for your chosen topic, these are the ideas I came up with, ranked in the order I would plan to discuss them (most to least important).
1A. Standardized testing is mandated for schools that receive federal government funds, as a condition of getting the funding
1. Public schools get federal government funds
1B. Standardized test score results are often used to compare schools
2A. Private schools do not get federal government funds, as a choice, to avoid having to comply with federal education regulations (often, but not always, regarding religion)
2. Many private schools do not disclose standardized test scores, even if they administer the tests to their students, because they are not required to do so
3. Parents choose schools for their children, and often purchase homes to be in good public school districts
3A. Parents who are not satisfied with the public schools in their district have the choice to pay to send their children to private schools
3B. Comparing standardized test score results is one way parents have to compare school quality
3C. Schools who do not make test scores public circumvent comparison on that basis, limiting parent's informed choice

See how ideas that are related are grouped together? If these ideas were re-ranked, in order, you would have a working outline to use when you begin to write, to help keep you organized and on track.

The next step is to search for resources that support your ideas. You can probably use some of the phrases from your ideas as search phrases when you use an Internet search engine. Be sure to use only scholarly resources - not everything on the Web is worthy to be cited. Sites whose URL addresses end in .gov, .edu or .org are generally the best ones, but .org sites are organizations that have an agenda to promote, and don't always tell all sides of an issue. .com sites are selling something, and sometimes neglect to mention the negatives of an issue, too. Sites ending in .html or ,htm are personal Web sites and anyone can post whatever they like (true or not) on those. That does not mean they are always bad, but you should verify information from a site like that with information from a more reliable site, it at all possible. One site you should NEVER cite in your papers is Wikipedia. Read it if you like to get ideas about where else to search, but anybody can edit Wikipedia (and they DO) so many colleges and universities actively and specifically forbid its use.

Re-organized ideas, in order now, with some selected quotes or paraphrases from some chosen Web-based resources:

1. Public schools get federal government funds
1A. Standardized testing is mandated for schools that receive federal government funds, as a condition of getting the funding
a.Web site URL:, US Department of Education, 2005.
I was particularly interested in the "facts" listed under item number 10, copied and pasted here:
K-12 education is funded at the federal level through a variety of laws and programs.
No Child Left Behind Funding: 2002-06
/about/overview/fed/10facts/edlite-chart.html - 6
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) gives our schools and our country groundbreaking education reform based on stronger accountability for results, more flexibility for states and communities, an emphasis on proven education methods, and more options for parents. Passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed by President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002, the law represents the most comprehensive revision of federal education programs since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. NCLB programs in the president's FY 2006 proposed budget include:
 Title I, the largest federal K-12 program, would provide over $13 billion to local districts to improve the academic achievement of children in high-poverty schools.
 Reading First would supply over $1.1 billion to states to promote the use of scientifically based research to provide high-quality reading instruction for grades K-3.
 Improving Teacher Quality Grants would provide states with $2.9 billion for teacher professional development and training.
 English Language Acquisition would provide $675.8 million to states to assist schools in improving the education of limited English-proficient children by teaching them English and helping them meet state ...

Solution Summary

Instructions for writing an essay (topic: standardized test reporting for public and private schools so parents can make comparisons to choose the best school for their children) and model sample essay, with abstract, title page and reference page, all in APA format.