Article Analysis Essay on The Little Student Went to the Market

Paper Type:  Article review
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  843 Words
Date:  2023-03-29


This paper critically analyzes and locates arguments in the article "The Little Student went to the Market" by David L. Kirp and Jeffrey T. Holman. In the article, both authors explore the infiltration of marketing strategies in higher learning institutions and the implications it has on students from poor social backgrounds. The main idea behind the authors' argument is that "transparency and fairness is lost when these higher learning institutions begin selling themselves to prospecting applicants." Although both Kirp and Holman try to support this argument using quotes and examples, the absence of a clear proof makes it unconvincing.

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Kirp and Holman begin the article by claiming that American colleges are involved in "mere marketing campaigns." They present solid proof to confirm this claim. For instance, they quote William Elliot who states that "the aim of the student enrollment to boost the university's market position" (Kirp and Holman, 29). Furthermore, they name the Dickinson and Harvard universities as some of the examples of colleges applying marketing methods to lure the best students (Kirp and Holman, 29). Nonetheless, the authors failed to provide proof here that argues why marketing is indeed unfair.

Next, Kirp and Holman address the issue of student scholarships. They argue that schools give student scholarships without considering their social backgrounds thus being unfair to students from poor backgrounds. However, they fail to give any direct proof that supports this practice. They quote an article by Michael McPherson in the New York Times where he stated that, "initially, student scholarships used to be an act of charity, but today, it is like an investment" (Kirp and Holman, 30). The quote fails to explain why converting student scholarships into investments is unfair. Also, although this example supports the fact that universities are out to maximize their profits from scholarships, it fails to show if the scholarships are only given to students from rich backgrounds. Moreover, Kirp and Holman specify how the mean SAT scores at Dickinson College have shot up nearly 100 points while the fees paid by the average students have dropped significantly. (Kirp and Holman, 30) This example proves that scholarships are directed to students with higher SAT scores, but it does not ascertain their financial status. The authors give examples of how colleges use student scholarships to maximize their profits but no evidence showing that the process only targets students from rich backgrounds.

Next, Kirp and Holman highlight how public schools pursue top students from rich backgrounds. They claim that the public schools invest in their facilities to lure them. However, this proof is inconsequential to the theme, as it does not clarify for what reason doing as such is unfair. Public facilities are meant to be open for all qualified students. Furthermore, the authors examine undergraduate colleges such as the Commonwealth College in the University of Massachusetts. They appear to suggest that such colleges are designed for students from rich backgrounds, but do not expressly say so, or give any proof in that effect. Moreover, they state that the Commonwealth College program was regarded as "racist and classist... not socially mindful" (Kirp and Holman, 30). Here, they are trying to engage the readers' feelings and persuade them using fiery language and raising sensitive issues, such as racism. In any case, this statement fails to show the unfairness of honors colleges to students from poor backgrounds, and, hence, does not support Kirp's and Holman's main argument.

Next, Kirp and Holman state that universities are using "unethical" means to boost their rankings. For instance, they state that colleges are manipulating their stats by "fixing" SAT scores to reclassifying past students as deceased (Kirp and Holman, 31). However, no proof is given to show this is in fact evident. They then examine early admissions, expressing that they are unfair since wealthy students will likely be admitted first. Although this appears as unfair, no direct proof is given to support the argument. Therefore, the claim that schools are applying unfair strategies to enhance their positions is well clarified. However, no "impenetrable" proof is made to support this claim.

Other than the absence of proof, there are other issues in the design and presentation of the two author's primary argument. For instance, the writers utilize fiery language all through the article to persuade readers regarding the legitimacy of their argument. However, this simply highlights the weakness of their arguments and an absence of genuine proof. Moreover, the authors have generalized the evidence they have stated in the article, using the example of one school to all such institutions in the country. Given that Kirp and Holman wrote the article mainly for educated purposes, they assume that the audience concurs with their sentiment and that they will be persuaded by their claims without solid proof. Kirp and Holman guarantee that the advertising done by schools and colleges is out of line, yet the broken execution of the contention and absence of strong, pertinent proof debilitates their case.

Works Cited

Kirp, David L., and Jeffrey T. Holman. "This Little Student Went to Market." The American Prospect, 7 Oct. 2002, pp. 29-31.

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