English composition assignment | English homework help



Major Paper #2–Letter to the Editor

As this is a relatively simply assignment, we will be working on the letter to the editor for one unit only.  The paper will be due at the end of Unit 4.

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How many times have we heard someone complaining about something happening in our communities–but offering no solutions for the problem?  This assignment is designed to develop your problem-solving skills and engage you in a substantive conversation concerning a current local issue.  This assignment will also encourage you to begin seriously considering your audience as a writer.  When you are writing a letter such as this, you’ll want to consider who will be reading it, particularly in terms of what words, examples, facts, or appeals might best convince this particular group.

The Assignment:

* Write a two to three page (double-spaced) letter to the editor, proposing a solution to a current local problem.  List the newspaper to which you would be sending this to at the top of your paper.  Begin the letter with:  “Dear Editor,”  Throughout the paper, be as specific as you possibly can in terms of:

1.) Defining/describing the problem and who it affects

2.) Describing your solution

3.) Defending your solution as the best means of dealing with this problem

As you’re writing this letter, also do keep in mind your audience.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Papers on the following topics will not be accepted: 

* abortion
* capital punishment
* euthanasia

I’ve already read more papers on these topics than anyone should in an entire lifetime, so I won’t read anymore. I encourage you to be more creative in selecting your topic.  For the Letter to the Editor, you should also be choosing a topic that is far more specific and local than any of these broad controversial issues.


Sample Letter to the Editor

To: Junction City Daily Union

Dear Editor,

          There is a robbery in progress! The students of USD 475 are being robbed! The

suspects include the State Budget Cuts, but all evidence points to the Board of Education

and the administrators in this district. The money that should be used to benefit the

students is in the greedy hands of the administration instead.

          Clearly, Unified School District #475 is going to be affected by the Kansas State

Budget cuts, along with the rest of the districts in the state. I’m not sure about the other

districts, but USD 475 may have a simple solution: Reallocation of the budget and a new

set of administrators and school board members who value children’s education rather

than nepotism and administrative salaries.

          Junction City’s school district isn’t known for its bright decisions regarding

funds. A few recent endeavors include the purchase of a brand-new Ford Expedition a

year or two ago, the move to a different Administrative Building that happens to be in a

much more lavish location, and the decision to build an enclosed walkway for students

between the high school and the former Administrative Building, which is to be used for

more classrooms. These decisions, however foolish, are still not the main cause for a

budget problem. The administrative costs are to blame. When compared to districts of

similar size, USD 475 uses dramatically more money simply for administration. Even

disregarding the percentages, although USD 475 has a smaller budget than 305 (Salina)

and 383 (Manhattan), it allocates more money for administration (Salina spends

$3,843,180 of their $68,267,944 budget; Manhattan $3,043,885 of their $47,298,811

budget, and Junction City $4,142,284 of their $45,743,233 budget). During the 2000-

2001 school year, USD 475 used 9 of the total budget for administrative costs, while

Manhattan and Salina seemed to be able to get by with only 6 of their budget being

used for that reason. They were able to use 50-51 of the total budget for actual

instruction, while USD 475 was only able to allot 46. This is an outrageous allocation of

the budget, but the issue doesn’t end there. Both Salina and Manhattan school districts

are comparable in size to Junction City’s, but it is very difficult to understand why

Manhattan can get along with 3 central administrators, Salina has 1.2, and Junction City

claims to require 7.5. It’s no wonder the administrative monetary “needs” are so high, I

won’t even touch on the issue of a single family dominating the entire district.

          It may appear that the 3 difference in money allotted for administration isn’t all

that significant. However, when it is put into monetary terms, if the administrative costs

were cut by 1/3, which puts the percentage of the budget for administration at 6 like

Salina and Manhattan, there is an additional $1.4 million dollars that could be better

allocated. That is a large sum of money that would be better spent on children’s

education, not on the inflated salaries of a large number of administrators.

          As stated earlier, the school district’s budget problems, on the surface, seem to be

the result of budget cuts and lack of money. The true problem, however, is the

misallocation of money and the absurd number of administrators in this particular

district. By simply eliminating the unessential administrators (and in my opinion

replacing the chief administrators with people that have true devotion to the students

and the community) and reallocation of the budget, the deficiency of money won’t be

such a tough issue. Who knows, with the right people writing the budget, we might even

be able to allot at least 50 of the money for instruction, like everyone else does. Some  

people may argue that it isn’t the misallocation of the money that proves to be the

problem, that it is the lack of money altogether. I still believe that with the appropriate

cutbacks in specific areas, particularly administrative costs, the students will be better

off. The School District is supposed to be teaching the children; let’s put some money

towards that for a change. All of the information that has been presented can be found

on the internet on the Kansas State Department of Education webpage. Don’t take my

word for it; look at the statistics and budget information for yourself. I’m sure it will

shock and disturb you as much as it did me.




Sally Smith

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