About Essays (Instruction)

About Essays (Instruction)
Please post your essay directly, NOT as an attachment. Post it with the title: John Smith Essay 1. And, please don’t use John Smith unless that is really your name…(smile).
As for practical issues such as length, footnoting, etc. here are some guidelines:
1. Double space using a 12pt. Times New Roman Font;
2. The essay should be a minimum of 4 full pages, preferably five (5). There will be large point reductions for any essay less than 4 full pages.
3. There should not be any need to cite. The purpose of the essays is to develop your own thought process. Therefore, everything you put down should be either your own thoughts or a very brief summary (in your own words) of someone else’s words (only if needed to set up or clarify your own presentation).
4. Use “I” (capitalized, please!). After all, the essay reflects your own ideas.
5. Do not copy ideas from any other source. To do so will defeat the whole purpose of the class and you will gain nothing from it.
6. Follow formal writing using college level standard English. If you do not have adequate writing skills, contact the Writing Center and get help immediately, long before you write your first essay.
7. Take advantage of your spell and grammar checkers! Write in full sentences with correct grammar, verb agreement, and spelling. Sentences should follow in logical sequence.
8. For those of you who may be a bit rusty, an essay begins with an introduction, which includes a thesis statement (what you will focus on in the essay), a “body” of at least three (or more) paragraphs, and ends with a conclusion that relates back to the thesis and demonstrates how the body of the essay has fulfilled the thesis. Sometimes, it is helpful to write your conclusion first, then work backward, but do this only for your own benefit, not in the final submission.
9. It is sometimes tempting to sit down and write both of the essays at the beginning of the semester. Don’t do it. Each essay requires reflection and is meant to be organized after the readings are done for that unit of study.

There are many factors that contribute to poverty, including poor health, lack of education, lack of opportunity, poor role models, even just bad luck. Here are a few statistics to consider. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010, 35.5% of the people living in poverty were children, representing almost 25% of the US child population. Many rely on the free or low cost subsidized meals provided at school during the school year, creating a crisis of hunger during the summer months. In 1973-74 there were 23 million US citizens living in poverty. In 2012, that figure jumped to 46.5 million. As a nation, 1% of the population is getting richer and the rest are losing economically, reducing the number in the “middle class” each year and adding to those in the “poverty” class. The US has one of the worst records for infant mortality, domestic abuse, access to justice, and access to healthcare among any of the industrialized nations. For example, we rank 40th in access to justice, behind some 3rd world countries. These statistics are getting worse, not better, each year.
Essay Question: What should be done about poverty in the United States?
Part 1 of the question: What do you see as “reasons” for poverty and how can they be overcome? Unfortunately we have all probably seen how poverty makes people particularly vulnerable. Contributing to this problem is a lack of decent education in low income tax areas, as well as a lack of access to medical care and legal representation (particularly in civil court). Keep these and other issues in mind as you compose your essay.
Part 2 of the question: As members of a society, what responsibilities do we have to help others who are not as fortunate? Just as we have seen that there are a lack of resources being provided to our nation’s children (basics of food and medical care), our disabled and many of our senior citizens also do not have access to the basics of decent living. To give you an example, my great-aunt, born in 1900, after a lifetime of work, in 1980 was drawing a social security check of $80 a month. Today, a single person, who is totally disabled, but does not have enough work credit for regular social security disability, may receive $700 a month. On this, the person is expected not only to provide shelter and food, transportation, clothing, and all the other basics of living, but also cover the cost of the “extra” products, such a Depends (adult diapers), over the counter medications, and any other prescribed medications that exceed the five prescriptions allowed under Medicaid. The person is usually alone and may have no one to help shop for groceries, clean living quarters, etc. It is tempting to say that we bear no responsibility for others and their problems, but what does that say about us as a society, and as individuals, if that is our answer.
Remember that you may answer this question any way you like, so long as you provide support and justification for your answer. Again, make the essay at least 4 pages in length (5 preferred).
Assessment Rubric
Reminder: Do not post your essay as an attachment. Attachments will not be graded.

Main Idea
Identify the theme of the essay and establish how you will present it (thesis statement). This usually comes at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Supporting Evidence
This is where you explain the issue or concept and select relevant supporting information, including examples. This should constitute the majority of your essay, with at least three or more paragraphs.


Logically synthesize the problem or issue into a relevant conclusion. Remind your reader of the thesis statement and how it has been presented.

Style and Length
It is important that you follow the required length for the paper. It is also important that your grammar be correct and consistent, the pronoun agreement be correct, and the sentence structure be correct. It is advised that you use a good grammar and spell-checker. Be sure that sentences are complete, and remember that this is a formal paper. Do not abbreviate nor use slang words. Use “I” and be sure to capitalize it.

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