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Look at the following letter, written to the editor of a newspaper. The paper had recently reported that Pennsylvania teachers were among the best paid in the country. Summarize the key points of the argument in a few sentences. Look for fallacies and examples of vague or slanted language. Then consider the overall effect of the argument. Determine as speci?cally as you can the writerâ??s purpose. Does he seem to be writing to an audience inclined to agree with him, or is he trying to convince neutral readers and members of the opposition that he is correct in his thinking? How do you think the newspaperâ??s readers would respond to this letter? How would a student of critical thinking evaluate this letter?

Once again, the taxpayers of the Wyoming Area School District are being ordered to â??open wideâ? and not for the purpose of checking for cavities. The dentist in this case is the Wyoming Area School Board and the order to open wide is directed to our wallets. With the passage of the 1998 budget, Wyoming Area has the dubious honor of joining the 200 and Above Club. The new budget includes a 15-mill tax hike, putting Wyoming Areaâ??s millage at 200.
When property owners are writing the check to pay that bill, they should remember that the largest part of that check, by far, is going into the pockets of members of the Wyoming Area â??Educationâ? Association. The current average cost per teacher to the taxpayers of Wyoming Area is $53 per hour.
To make matters worse, our school board is currently negotiating with the teachers union for a new contract. Unless we act now and let our board members know we will no longer accept big give-away contracts for the sake of peace, we will continue to pay for our silence and complacency with more big tax hikes in the future.
A mere 2 percent pay raise for one year for the $53-per-hour people will cost the taxpayers of Wyoming Area an additional $125,000, or 3.5 mills.
The teachers union is able to extort this money from the taxpayers of Pennsylvania; through their forced union dues, they are able to pour huge sums of money into the campaigns of their lap-dog political candidates. Under the guise of â??doing it for the children,â? these teacher-union lackeys pass laws which make it very easy for the teachers union to get what it wants.
With the upcoming elections in November, taxpayers should know two things:

According to ?gures I have seen, approximately 40 percent of the delegates at the last Democratic National Convention were members of the teachers union. They apparently have plenty of time on their hands to corrupt our nationâ??s political system.

Secondly, about 90 percent of all teacher union PAC money goes to Democratic candidates. They apparently have plenty of extra money with which they can corrupt our nationâ??s political system. With ?gures like this, can there be any doubt about who controls the Democratic Party?

In my opinion, the teachers union is the taxpayersâ?? greatest enemy, and a vote for a Democrat, generally speaking, is a vote for the enemy. Had it not been for a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled state House and Senate, we would never have had tenure reform, sabbatical leave reform, charter school legislation, or this meager but promising attempt at tax reform in Pennsylvania.

On the national level, the Democrats and President Clinton have stopped every single attempt made by Republicans to improve education in our country. As the cost of public education continues to sky-rocket with no corresponding improvement in results, the teachers union monopoly must not go on unchallenged.

As bad as things seem, they would be worse without the existence of taxpayer groups. Taxpayer groups are organized all around the state and every taxpayer who cares about ?scal responsibility in government functions should join and support their local group. We do make a difference.

George R. Race
Wyoming Area Taxpayers Association
Wyoming, Pennsylvania

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As you examine Race's letter to the editor of a newspaper, you might summarize the key points of the argument in a few sentences:

Race criticizes

As you then kook for fallacies and examples of vague or slanted language, he uses the metaphor of a dentist to extend the comparison of tax payers feeling like they are at a dental office for a procedure to compare the pain of teachers' unions taking taxpayers' money as he suggests, "Once again, the taxpayers of the Wyoming Area School District are being ordered to open wide and not for the purpose of checking for cavities. The dentist in this case is the Wyoming Area School Board and the ...

Solution Summary

Audience awareness is briefly examined.

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