I've written, in all fairness, two different incomplete papers today.
The assignment: Assimilate and think about the issues raised by the authors. In your essay,
(a) Write a letter to the Texas School Board members with your proposal for the revision of the social studies curriculum.
(b) Include main ideas and examples from the sources in this assignment or write a forward or afterword using the assignment's materials. Finally,
(c) Discuss the implications of the authors' arguments for you, personally, and your chosen area of work. Give specific examples.
Why should this be confusing?
Well, there is the word "essay" and the word "letter." Those are not the same. There is also the assumption that all students in this class are familiar with the state's social studies curriculum. I am a social studies teacher and completed all of my schooling in Texas, but not all students in this class have that background. None of our readings included the current state curriculum. The assigned readings were quite extensive and intense, thus anyone needing to research the state curriculum would be quite taxed on time to be able to do so.
What if I don't think there needs to be any changes? (I mean...based on the assigned readings.)
One book we were assigned to read was from an extreme conservative. The kind of conservative that thinks America should return to an entirely Anglo-Protestant republic, which gives all conservatives a bad name. The other book we were assigned to read touts Washington and our Founding Fathers to be rich, white, Protestant men that were only concerned with lining their pocketbooks and giving themselves freedom. Lincoln didn't really care about slavery. Every politician and army in our nation's history was only concerned for Manifest Destiny. We murdered anyone who got in our way.
You could say I didn't do much agreeing as I read.
I began one paper, that was quite well written and researched, if I do say so myself. But it didn't really address the assignment. I was on page 5 (the assignment is for 7 pages.)
I've saved it...though I'm not sure to what end.
And I started over.
I'm on page 5 again....and stopping for the evening.
I'm at least on the right track now, but there is still some rewriting and editing and writing and then rewriting again that needs done.