Sample Essay for Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting :
The following is a sample essay you can practice quoting, paraphrasing,
and summarizing. Examples of each task are provided at the end of the
essay for further reference.
So That Nobody Has To Go To School If They Don't Want To
by Roger Sipher
A decline in standardized test scores is but the most recent indicator
that American education is in trouble.
One reason for the crisis is that present mandatory-attendance laws
force many to attend school who have no wish to be there. Such children
have little desire to learn and are so antagonistic to school that neither
they nor more highly motivated students receive the quality education that
is the birthright of every American.
The solution to this problem is simple: Abolish compulsory-attendance
laws and allow only those who are committed to getting an education to
This will not end public education. Contrary to conventional belief,
legislators enacted compulsory-attendance laws to legalize what already
existed. William Landes and Lewis Solomon, economists, found little
evidence that mandatory-attendance laws increased the number of children
in school. They found, too, that school systems have never effectively
enforced such laws, usually because of the expense involved.
There is no contradiction between the assertion that compulsory
attendance has had little effect on the number of children attending
school and the argument that repeal would be a positive step toward
improving education. Most parents want a high school education for their
children. Unfortunately, compulsory attendance hampers the ability of
public school officials to enforce legitimate educational and disciplinary
policies and thereby make the education a good one.
Private schools have no such problem. They can fail or dismiss
students, knowing such students can attend public school. Without
compulsory attendance, public schools would be freer to oust students
whose academic or personal behavior undermines the educational mission of
Has not the noble experiment of a formal education for everyone failed?
While we pay homage to the homily, "You can lead a horse to water but you
can't make him drink," we have pretended it is not true in education.
Ask high school teachers if recalcitrant students learn anything of
value. Ask teachers if these students do any homework. Quite the contrary,
these students know they will be passed from grade to grade until they are
old enough to quit or until, as is more likely, they receive a high school
diploma. At the point when students could legally quit, most choose to
remain since they know they are likely to be allowed to graduate whether
they do acceptable work or not.
Abolition of archaic attendance laws would produce enormous
First, it would alert everyone that school is a serious place where one
goes to learn. Schools are neither day-care centers nor indoor street
corners. Young people who resist learning should stay away; indeed, an end
to compulsory schooling would require them to stay away.
Second, students opposed to learning would not be able to pollute the
educational atmosphere for those who want to learn. Teachers could stop
policing recalcitrant students and start educating.
Third, grades would show what they are supposed to: how well a student
is learning. Parents could again read report cards and know if their
children were making progress.
Fourth, public esteem for schools would increase. People would stop
regarding them as way stations for adolescents and start thinking of them
as institutions for educating America's youth.
Fifth, elementary schools would change because students would find out
early they had better learn something or risk flunking out later.
Elementary teachers would no longer have to pass their failures on to
junior high and high school.
Sixth, the cost of enforcing compulsory education would be eliminated.
Despite enforcement efforts, nearly 15 percent of the school-age children
in our largest cities are almost permanently absent from school.
Communities could use these savings to support institutions to deal
with young people not in school. If, in the long run, these institutions
prove more costly, at least we would not confuse their mission with that
Schools should be for education. At present, they are only tangentially
so. They have attempted to serve an all-encompassing social function,
trying to be all things to all people. In the process they have failed
miserably at what they were originally formed to accomplish.
Example Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation from the Essay:
Example summary: Roger Sipher
makes his case for getting rid of compulsory-attendance laws in primary
and secondary schools with six arguments. These fall into three
groups—first that education is for those who want to learn and by
including those that don't want to learn, everyone suffers. Second, that
grades would be reflective of effort and elementary school teachers
wouldn't feel compelled to pass failing students. Third, that schools
would both save money and save face with the elimination of
Example paraphrase: Roger
Sipher concludes his essay by insisting that schools have failed to in
their primary duty of education because they try to fill multiple social
Example quotation: According to
Roger Sipher, a solution to the perceived crisis of American education is
to "Abolish compulsory-attendance laws and allow only those who are
committed to getting an education to attend" (Page#).
Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing : This page is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.
Paraphrase : Write it in Your Own Words. : Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material.
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