Rhetorical Analysis

College and postsecondary education are a vital part of the education system that in recent years has become a preliminary requisite for obtaining a Job. Because of this, there are less qualified applicants for Jobs than ever before. In his essay “On ‘Real Education”, Robert T. Perry refutes some of Charles Murray ideas and effectively convinces the reader that this country needs more college graduates to fill new Jobs and support the growing knowledge economy.

Perry achieves this by employing appeals to the reader’s emotions and logic, as well as utilizing hard data adhered as a comparison of leading nations around the world and in his home state of South Dakota. Control of a person’s emotions can really sway that person towards or away from certain ideas. In Perry’s case, he uses the reader’s emotions to persuade them that there needs to be more college graduates and more participation in postsecondary studies.

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People who do not participate in higher education would have fewer employment options today than a college graduate would tomorrow. Perry states that “because low-wage, low-skill careers are disappearing rapidly due to overseas reparations taking advantage of the cheap labor that is so plentifully at their disposal” (626), American companies cannot compete and therefore must require higher standards of its employees. These higher standards include requiring some form of higher education, “be it community college, a state university or participation in a Ph. D. Program” (626).

The appeal to Pathos applies to the fact that commodities, such as food, gas, and housing, will no longer be affordable to people without a postsecondary credential. This invokes the reader’s emotions and their sense of self- reservation that keeps them alive. If the reader does not in fact have a postsecondary education, they may decide to pursue one based on not being able to sustain themselves with food, shelter, and clothing with the no skills required hourly paid Job they hold today. Perry also uses logic to show how his argument makes sense in today’s world.

The logic says that because there will always be overseas companies who will utilize cheap labor, the American economy and workforce needs to work smarter, not cheaper, to stay ahead of the game. With more companies outsourcing Jobs to other entries, American laborers are being laid off with nowhere to go for a Job. These people are no longer able to pay for everyday commodities and therefore can barely survive. With a postsecondary education, a worker can obtain a Job that may still be able to be outsourced but the outsourcing may not be as advantageous as keeping the Job local in America.

The hard data used by Perry in his essay says that “90 percent of the fastest growing Job categories, including software engineers, physical therapists, and preschool teachers will require some form of postsecondary education” (625). He also states that “60 percent of all new Jobs and 40 percent of manufacturing Jobs will require a postsecondary education” (625) of any form as well. Over the past couple of decades, the United States has held the enviable title as the leader in educational attainment. However, in recent years, we have fallen back to tenth behind other nations in the percentage of young adults with postsecondary education. In order to match such nations as Canada, Japan and South Korea, the U. S. Will need to produce around 63. 1 million degrees by 2025. At the rate we are going now, we would fall horn by 16 million degrees” (626). This evidence helps the author persuade the reader by allowing them to see how the United States is no longer top in the world and how we can get back to the top in percentage of adults educated.

This fact can be motivating because of the United States’ great national pride and the need to be the best in the world in every possible aspect. It is also important to note that the American people are very resilient and will do almost anything to stay ahead. Perry describes the State Higher Education Executive Officers and how their mission is to ease awareness of the need to go to college and how everyone should go to college. New systems and policies have been instituted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers to make college access and success a national priority.

These policies include: Targeting low-income and first-generation students, “overhauling the notoriously complex financial aid system” (627), and developing new information systems. Low-income and first-generation students are statistically the least likely to succeed in college and complete their degree study programs. People who fall into his category are targeted by allocating greater public resources to community colleges and regional four-year institutions, while also providing need-based financial aid. The financial aid system is obviously complex and difficult to understand.

One way to create ease of access to this program is to allow data for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid directly transferable from the federal income tax form. Peel Grants should also be slated to students’ basic living needs and not tuition to highlight the responsibility of the states and colleges to provide grants for tuition to owe-income students and moderate tuition and fees based on students’ financial status. As for the development of the information system, it better tracks students’ progress and determines whether they are at risk of dropping out.

These systems and policies help college to become more accessible and college students more successful. South Dakota, where Perry is a member of the State Board of Regents, “is committed to raising graduation rates” (627). This state is reaching out to the adult learners who may want to complete their education by offering more university lasses in large urban areas. Out-of-state tuition has been cut in half, inviting more non-residents to apply and attend state colleges that have recently seen lower attendance rates than ever before.

The increased student flow has allowed the income to offset any potential revenue shortfall. There are also scholarships set up for in-state high school students who maintain a B average, earn a 24 or better on the ACT, and take more challenging courses in high school. These students are highly rewarded with scholarships that help them to offset the high costs that come with attending college. By using appeals to Logos and Pathos, as well as examples of hard data, Perry expertly refutes Charles Murray book and persuades the reader of the importance of having more college and postsecondary graduates.

His argument persuades the reader to his side and holds them there with compelling evidence and facts that supports his argument. The author’s word choice is important because it shows that he went to college. His syntax and diction is that of someone with an extensive vocabulary. However, the author uses words that people without a post-secondary education can understand because he knows his audience might include those people as they want to read if they should go to college or not.

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