Example Comments from Civil Conversation Challenge
 
   

Please note: These comments are drawn from responses to the online Challenge, and were NOT written to the requirements of our argumentative assignment--which is probably why none are "scorable" in our terms. (See rubric here.) Each example DOES have good qualities, however! Check with teacher to discuss the pros and cons of these statements as examples of argumentative writing.

Argumentative rubric for our assignment is here.
   

Immigration 1

Immigration 1

A.B. Louisiana October 11, 2016

America’s largest symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty, has written on its base, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” I firmly believe that immigrants enhance a society, not worsen it.

Immigrants are a very important part of American society. America was built on the backs of immigrants. Everyone in America is either an immigrant or descended from one, unless he/she is descended from the Native Americans. Because of this fact alone, I cannot fathom how so many Americans are prejudiced against immigrants.

Immigrants come to America because they are so desperate to have a better life they risk losing everything, or, in the case of the Syrian refugees, they have nowhere else to go. In the case of South American illegal immigrants, they travel here dangerously and hop the fence, risking being arrested and deportation because they are so desperate. That kind of commitment to America is exactly what I would want in a citizen.

But the legal system is so broken that instead of doing it the legal way, where it takes years and classes that a working person just can’t do, they come here illegally. This says something about how broken the system is. It needs a complete revision of the laws. I also believe that illegal immigrants already here should be granted amnesty, but fined because they broke the law.

Not scorable:

No bibliography.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.


But if it were scorable:

Good ideas, but specifics could be further developed and elaborated.

Conclusion lacking.

Transitions would be helpful.

   
Immigration 2 Immigration 2

S.K. North Carolina November 7, 2016

When illegal immigrants cross the border, they are breaking the law. Our legal system is broken, but it still isn’t right for them to break the law and enter the U.S., when we have many people waiting to be allowed to get in the country legally through that system. Some are law abiding, and they should be able to go through the legal system once it’s fixed. But some are rapists and murderers, as seen in multiple accounts. Examples? Illegal alien killed a kid because he didn’t get him cigarettes fast enough. Illegal alien drove up, kills another kid. Illegal Alien killed 60-yr old woman, attempted to rape 14-yr old girl. There’s all too many accounts of these tragic events, and we need to protect our borders. Most aren’t deported, and those who are just come back (seen in the Katie Steinle murder). Even legal immigrants from the Middle East are a danger to us; if just 1 out of every 100 was a radical islamic terrorist, we would have an appalling amount of radical islamic terrorists in the U.S. homeland. Still, Mrs. Clinton wishes to increase the amount of refugees we take in by 550%. We have an obligation to help humankind, and we can do that there. Our Immigration system is broken, it needs to be fixed, and we need to deport and keep illegal aliens who commit horrendous crimes out. The U.K is building a wall, so why don’t we? Because if the next victim of this plague was you or someone you know, you’d want to secure our borders.

Not scorable:

No sources cited.

No paragraphs.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.


But if it were scorable:

Strong evidence provided, but analysis could be developed.

Organization unclear.

Informal register ("kid").

Very powerful clincher.

   

Second Amendment 3

Second Amendment 3

M.T. CA October 30, 2016

I agree with Jake S. in his view that the founding fathers knew “the last line of defense against a tyrannical government is the citizens of the United States.” As stated by the second amendment “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The purpose of the second amendment is to safeguard and ensure the protection of the citizens from both the enemy and if needed the government. I believe that this right should not be demeaned in any way. There are people who use this right to do great wrongs and sadly that is the price of freedom, not everyone is going to do the right thing. We cannot ensure more safety without taking away from freedom. Therefore I conclude that drastic action should not be taken. Might I suggest that small improvements might be able to solve the problem. Perhaps creating a federal standard requirement across all states for the purchase of guns that ensure users know how to safely use them. Secondly, upholding punishments for crimes involving guns by treating them as they are, serious, life-threatening crimes. Additionally, putting a stop to straw purchases, or the illegal purchase of a gun for someone else who is prohibited from owning a firearm. By starting small we can fully assess the issue and then move from there to make adjustments accordingly allowing our freedoms to be respected.

Not scorable:

No bibliography.

No paragraphs.

Less than 600 words long.


But if it were scorable:

Clear organization of proposed solution/s.

Specific reference of Second Amendment.

Would benefit from detailed evidence to support claims.

   
Second Amendment 4 Second Amendment 4

M.B. Asheville November 7, 2016

I personally believe we shouldn’t have guns at all. Not even for hunting, because how are their lives any less important than yours or mine? In the news we see so many shootings going on and it’s sad I have a quote from the New York Times (gun control) “Last year we service over a hundred families whose children had been victims of gun violence, what happens at a funeral like that is they’re well attended young people will come who did not know that particular young person, but they’ll come to experience the moment.” There are so many children and good people who die because of a gunn

Not scorable:

No bibliography.

No paragraphs.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.

But if it were scorable:

Clear position.

Problems in sentence structure; punctuation lacking.

Ideas need development.

   
Race, Gender, Identity 5 Race, Gender, Identity 5

H. North Carolina November 7, 2016

Race, gender, and identity are a very popular topic of discussion. Recently there has been a drastic increase in reported shootings of black citizens. I think it is reasonable for the black community to be scared because there is a very real racial threat, as “black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.” -Washingtonpost. I think this is a very important problem that needs to be addressed, and ignoring it is the worst possible thing to do. If there is a rising issue that is putting people in danger then it should never be ignored. The next topic to discuss is gender, primarily sexism directed towards women. My thoughts on sexism towards women is that if anyone has less rights than another for some arbitrary reason like gender then it should definitely be addressed and efforts should be made to fix it. I think that america's culture hasn’t quite adjusted to that yet and I think that identity and gender is an issue that needs to be taken seriously, with gay marriage not being legal in some states still and ect. My thoughts on identity and such is that I think someone should be able to personally identify as anything they want, of course this doesn’t give them any special rights over others but it shouldn’t make them lesser than anybody. Gay marriage should be legal because marriage is a personal decision made by someone and taking that away is taking away the rights of a whole group of people.

Not scorable:

No bibliography.

No paragraphs.

Not double-spaced.


But if it were scorable:

Multiple positions taken, making focus unclear: few specifics provided for evidence.

Problems in proofreading, punctuation, spelling and capitalization.

   
Race, Gender, Identity 6 Race, Gender, Identity 6

S. Z. Asheville, North Carolina November 2, 2016

     Civil rights is a wide ‘umbrella term’ used in many separate ways. Some believe issues like equality need to be fought for, and others think there is no need for further change.
     On one specific issue, that of LGBT rights, there are drastically different views. To show the differentiation's, I can zero in on the ideas of the Vice-Presidential candidates.
     Mike Pence has brought up correctional facilities, used to “fix” those who are a part of the community. “Resources should be directed toward those institutions” (Politifact). He also is anti gay marriage, and his opinion is shared with some of his supporters. “Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status… congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws” (Politifact).
     Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, believes that in the area of civil rights, there is great need for progression. “Do you believe in LGBTQ equality? We (Clinton and Kaine) do, millennials do, Donald Trump doesn’t” (Politifact). The two running mates share the belief that equality is well-deserved for all.
     In this issue, I side with Hillary and Kaine. I believe that in a Democracy freedom of speech, expression, or values is something to be fought for, and to be won.

Not scorable:

No bibliography (though in-text citations are present).

No paragraphs.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.

But if it were scorable:

Position is not immediately stated, but becomes more developed by the end. Specific evidence is provided, but analysis is lacking.

   
Climate Change 7 Climate Change 7

H. H. Pennsylvania October 7, 2016

Man-made climate change is one of the biggest concerns of our generation, yet the enormous oil and natural gas industries stand in the way of change. We need to be the generation to make a serious impact on this potentially devastating issue, and put a stop to the decimation of the ozone layer via greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists are leading the way with a multitude of substitutes for crude oil and the fracking of nature land. They are capturing the methane emissions of biomatter through anaerobic digestion systems, they are harnessing the sun's energy through the implementation of solar panels, they are capturing wind with windmills spread out across vast landscapes, they are tapping in to the energy naturally flowing through streams with hydro-electric dams...and the list goes on.

So, why are we not veering off of this desolate path? The simple answer, I believe, is because the government, as well as we, the American people as a whole, do not share the serious concern that I have seen among other posters to this forum, about the devastating effects of global warming.

With everything I have said, there is one thing I ask: please continue to communicate our shared belief and understanding of where our environmental decisions as a nation will lead. It will determine the future of generations upon generations, in ways we can imagine at this point.

Not scorable:

No bibliography or sources referenced.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.


But if it were scorable:

Position is clear; problem and solution are specifically identified.

Excellent word choice and voice.

Proofreading error (?) undercuts what would be a powerful last sentence.

   
Climate Change 8 Climate Change 8

R. SC October 20, 2016

Climate Change is a subject I don’t really like to talk about but in the more recent case, I can’t let anymore time be wasted on talking about the problem. I believe climate change is real but it’s not as bad as they're describing it. Yes it’s a problem but it’s not an immediate problem to my opinion. I also believe humans are the biggest cause of climate change but, Still I don’t believe it’s an immediate threat. Humans can speed up climate change but we can also slow it down if all the humans really wanted too, But still I don’t think it’s an immediate threat. Also like I said it can get worse we can melt all the ice in the arctic and the antarctic and flood the planet and killing everything that doesn't live in water. Likewise when about stopping climate change we can stop but people will have to give up on luxuries we have now.

Not scorable:

No paragraphs, no sources referenced.

Less than 600 words long.

Not double-spaced.

But if it were scorable:

Careful identification of the problem, and position is somewhat developed.

Evidence present but not specific.

Proofreading/corrections needed.