What Our Education System Needs Is More F’s Essay

In recent years we have heard a lot about what needs to be done to raise the quality of the American education system. Some claim its a lack of funding, and if we just throw money at the problem the problem of a sub-par education system will just go away. Others claim we need to get back to basics or have more stringent certification procedures. The excuses are abundant. Carl Singleton offers more radical advice. He claims what we need more is more F’s.

Singleton believes F’s would virtually overnight save our education system. Will more F’s save the American education system?

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The idea of throwing out F’s by the millions may sound harsh, but Singleton claims by doing so it would elevate the educational problems we face today. Why give a passing grade to a student who doesn’t know his or her material? The school system just perpetuates the endless cycle. The teachers of today are incompetent because they came out of the same educational system their students are in.

Will this cycle ever come to an end? Singleton claims yes, if we start handing out F’s left and right, it will force students to buckle down and learn the material.

Singleton uses two distinct strategies to support his argument. His first is his analogy of Gov. Lester Maddox’s famous quote about the prison system: “We’ll get a better grade of prisons when we get a better grade of prisoners.” By using this analogy, he is saying that schools will not be better until the students are better, which helps to support his point about the way the fix the education system is to fix the students by giving them F’s when they deserve them. Students who are given F’s will naturally want to improve, will become better students, and by doing so will improve the schools. It is interesting that Singleton says that he is “tempted to make an analogy,” then includes the analogy, then says, “but I shall refrain.”

The other strategy that Singleton uses is repetition. He repeats the same words over and over in just about every paragraph. By repeating “giving more F’s” or words similar to that, Singleton drives home that the students should be given the grade that they deserve and that by doing so, today’s schools will not produce illiterate high school graduates and college students who lack basic reading, writing, and math skills. Hardly a paragraph goes by where Singleton does not use the words “give more F’s” or words to that affect. This use of repetition helps Singleton reinforce the idea that the answer to educations problems is to fail students who deserve it, and this use of repetition helps the reader get use to the idea and accept it at the end.

Singleton carefully arranges his article in a way to further his argument. Singleton first shocks his reader by claiming what we need is more F’s. Then with several short paragraphs he tries to prove his argument. He explains to the reader about the evolution and decline of the American educational system. How F’s became D’s then D’s to C’s and finally B’s as an average grade. Then he hammers home his point by explaining how wide spread F’s would reform our system. Parents would take an active roll in their kids education, teachers would have to excel if they themselves were not to become failures, the voters, politicians, and school boards would finally become aware of our problem when kids by the millions were held back. Then to sum up his argument Singleton states, “The single most important requirement for solving the problems of education in America today is a big fat F, written decisively in red ink millions of times in schools and colleges across the country.”

Singleton writing is quit negative, and his contempt for the current educational system is apparent. He tries to find common ground with his readers by pointing out situations we all know to be true; illiterate high school graduates, college students who have to take classes they should have taken in high school and incompetent teachers. At least he is hoping we have all noticed these problems, because his premise is based on the idea that Americans know that there are problems with our education system and that we should all care enough to try such drastic measures.

Singleton’s proposal is harsh and controversial, but I found it convincing. Higher standards would force students to actively learn their material. The famous college slogan “C’s get degrees” would vanish. Teachers would deserve raises and get better benefits if they were all highly qualified and able to teach their material. So would wide spread F’s solve our current educational problems? Probably, but I can say this for now that I’m finally done with college and won’t have to face new and tougher standards!

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