Public Discourse

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Public Discourse and Tracking in a Classroom Setting If a motivated, well-informed individual had a problem with public policy, how could he/she go before the public and address the issue? The article Service Learning and Public Discourse explores the ways in which a composition course can effectively bridge the gap between classrooms and society, so that students and administrators alike can justify meaning behind discourse and learn how to put their knowledge to use. The author, Bruce Herzberg, begins the writing by illustrating a personal literacy narrative of his seventh grade year, when he became a helpless victim of the tracking system. Tracking practice and policy is widely popular among U.S education systems, yet for years academic …show more content…
Tracking creates unnecessary barriers between students of whom are separated because of test and course performance. This discredited practice remains unchanged because public policy is shaped by public opinion, rather than academic knowledge. For the context of tracking, “Despite some movement by principals and activist teachers toward heterogeneous grouping, the determining arguments time and again are either flat assertions by parents that lower track kids will drag non-tracked classes down to their level, or statements by teachers that they would need lots of expensive training to be able to teach non-tracked classes” (Herzberg 465). Students need to be able to determine how public discourse engages in the public sphere and utilize their understanding to produce the necessary results. They can do this by learning to put their knowledge as well as their experiences of service learning, policy trends, rhetorical strategies and discourse to use outside of a classroom in order to effectively influence the public. The students in Herzberg’s article came up with a variety of practical approaches that could bring an argument before the public, such as “pamphlets, fliers, lobbying, community activism, organizations, etc” (Herzberg 469). Tracking is a great example of a poor practice that follows public opinion, leading to stagnant, inequitable policies that in this case, produce great disparities in student

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