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Rhetorical Analysis - Arts in Public Schools

By thattorigirl Apr 17, 2013 806 Words
Funding for the Arts in Public Schools Rhetorical Analysis
The arts, although important to be accessible to school children, has become a privilege for public schools due to budget cuts. In “Arts Education in Secondary Schools: Effects and Effectiveness.” by John Harland it is stressed that the arts ignite creativity that is crucial in childhood development. Likewise, in “Despite White House Report Advocating Arts Education, Budget Face Cuts.” by Matt Phifer, published by ABC News, the importance of keeping the arts in pubic schools in addressed. Both articles effectively serve their purpose through a strong use of logos. Harland successfully wins his audience with his use of ethos and analogies, and Phifer has the same success through figurative language and expert testimonies.

Right from the start, Harland makes his credibility clear. He states, “As an educator, a student, and a researcher...”, this specific use of ethos is established early on to earn the reader’s respect. He continues to establishes himself by stating his report “was not only an accurate reflection of the children studied, but also of myself”. In addition, this peer reviewed article provides the reader with an over indulgence of charts, statistics, and report explanations to set a clear use of logos. Among the many charts provided, one of the most effective stand alone sets presents a side-by-side comparison of the average IQ of students who took arts courses as part of their curriculum, against those who lacked access to those courses. The chart is made very easy for the reader to comprehend and the remarkable data shows clear evidence in a larger average IQ among those who had substantial exposure to arts courses over those who hadn’t. Furthermore, Harland would take supportive statistics and flat out state them to his audience. For example he extended the data from his charts by stating, “In year 10, students with exposure to the arts had 67% higher intelligence scores than those without.”. Not only was clear evidence provided in this report, but a clear interpretation followed it, to make sure the audience was in complete understanding of the results. Harland also included some data that the common American might find to be irrelevant, such as, the rate of pay the teachers of arts courses may receive in contrast to that of teachers of “core classes” (math, English, etc;), however he pieced together clever analogies so his audience could not only relate to the information, but agree with it as well. His audience definitely had more knowledge on Harland’s point of view by the end of the report.

In a popular article published by ABC News, “Despite White House Report Advocating Arts Education Budgets Face Cuts” by Matt Phifer, it is shown how important arts education is, what it has taught past generations, and why it is important for the future of our country. Phifer begins his article by providing his audience with specific background information and establishing a sense of knowledgeability towards his subject. This is followed up by straight up facts about the budget cuts the nation’s public schools will face. He explains to his audience how the No Child Left Behind Law had hurt a student’s ability to take more arts courses in conjunction with the regular curriculum. “A study found that 47% of respondents claim their art schedules were being interrupted more often...” as well as, “the research showed arts-involved students usually perform 16 to 28 percent better than their peers who are not involved in the arts.” and also “The study showed a correlation between involvement in music and proficiency in math” are just a few of his very specific examples. His audience, who are most likely to be American parents, can definitely be intrigued by Phifer’s article, as it can lead them to want to make sure that arts education is accessible to their own children. To enhance the value of the statistics provided, Phifer also interviewed some key experts in this research. He provided claims made by highly credible sources. One expert testimony included, “You see the American flag, which is considered art. You see any piece of artwork say you see a Picasso, you know that that’s Picasso because you’ve grown up learning about the arts and being involved in art.” this makes it clear that the absence of art would take away general knowledge. Surely, the audience can feel comfort in agreeing with Phifer, but also a disease towards their children’s future.

Both articles provide strong evidence towards the claims they make. They convince their audience of their take on the situation and allow the reader to walk away from the article with more knowledge than they had before. The rhetorical devices used by Harland, and by Phifer were able to effectively lead their audience to understanding and relating to all of their evidence.

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