SWS 6 and on ME 2



SWS 6 and on ME 2

As a way of preparing for ME2, . . .

Take another look at all the readings assigned so far (through April 13). Feel free to add the final course reading to the list. Finish taking notes on each one if necessary. These notes are necessary for you to do well on SWS 6 and on ME 2.


Choose seven or more of the assigned published essays. For each of these seven, identify two or more of the “social problems” that–as you see it–the essay deals with in one way or another. At least five of the “seven or more” essays you select must come from List A, below.  (You may take six or even all seven essays from List A, if you like. You are not required to choose anything from List B.)SWS 6 and on ME 2


“Social problem” means a problem in our society. State the social problem as a complete sentence making a debatable generalization about the world we live in. (That is, state it in the same form as a “thesis.”) As examples, here are some claimed social problems that several essays talk about:

* Schools and colleges unwisely focus on job-training more than education

   * Students of low socio-economic status receive inferior schooling compared with affluent studentsSWS 6 and on ME 2

   * Misplaced national priorities are restricting people’s freedom

   * Some of society’s institutions work to keep powerless people powerless

   * Racism exists and hurts a lot of people

   * The state has too much power over the individual

   * Educational institutions intentionally keep some groups of people uneducated and powerless


(Note: I am not stating that each of these claims is true–only that some writers we have read have tried to persuade you that each of these claims is true. Feel free to agree or disagree with any of these claims.)


For any essay, the “social problems” you see being explored need not be the thesis or the main theme–or even an especially important theme–in that essay. For example, one problem “Still Separate, Still Unequal” explores is (what Kozol sees as) excessive corporate influence over public schools.  That’s a very small part of Kozol’s essay–only four paragraphs, at the very end.  But that “social problem” would be fine for SWS 6 (or ME2), if it strikes you as interesting. For SWS 6, do not limit yourself only to each essay’s main point (thesis) or to the main problem it discusses.


You need to identify 14 or more social problems. Ideally, these will not be 14 unique, different social problems. Keep a lookout for social problems that two or more essays deal with. This kind of duplication is not only allowed, it’s a good thing. (ME 2 asks you to write about one social problem that two or more essays deal with.)


SWS 6 and on ME 2

List A: Choose 5 or more essays from here.                                 List B: Some other possibilities

“Still Separate, Still Unequal”                                                     “Save Us From the SAT”

“Why Don’t We Complain?”                                                        “A Hanging”

The Closing of the American Mind”                                             “College Brings Lessons”

“C.P. Ellis”                                                                                “Serving in Florida”

“Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work”                      “Parents Arrested …”

“Against School”                                                                       “George Orwell … Meet Mark Zuckerberg”

“Learning to Read”                                                                    Anything else we’ve read

“Shock and Awe Over Agrabah”

“Many Mansions”

“The Conk”

“Detained in Airport by Cops”



Important: Your paper for SWS 6 should not be in conventional essay format. A bulleted list … or outline format … would be fine. Do not discuss the “social problems” in SWS 6–just identify some social problems that each essay is concerned with.


In evaluating your paper, I’ll be looking at how perceptive your list of problems seems, how good an understanding your list shows of what each of the published essays is saying.