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Gordon Adam's petition is not only well argued and properly reasoned, but, additionally, it managed to prove that all the arguments given against his petition were based on false reasoning. From the entire set of arguments, the only one that could actually be used against his argumentation was the one stating that he needed college algebra in order to "satisfy the university math requirement in order to graduate." Something like when you ask why you have to pay all kinds of different taxes: you see no real benefit, but some higher authority, in this case the state, in Gordon's case, the educational system and the college authorities, convinces you that this is necessary because it is so required!
On the other hand, because the college authorities' argumentation is based on all kind of fallacies, clearly dismantled one by one in Gordon's argumentation, it is my opinion that Gordon should be allowed not to take his algebra class and graduate without. My own argumentation will rely, first of all, on a presentation of the facts and of the different arguments that the two parties involved have used. I will be able to show that Gordon's option is not determined by laziness or by a certain dislike of a certain class, but a practical decision, in which he decides to use his limited time in order to pursue a higher goal. All logical arguments are for Gordon's cause, except one: rules and regulation. The final debate requires us to decide whether we can forget about the rules and regulations in order to apply common sense logic.
The facts in this case are quite simple. Gordon Adam is a 43-year-old member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma who is currently pursuing Justice Studies at the Arizona State University College of Public Programs. His goals in life are obvious and clearly stated: he wants to follow a law school in order to be able to help his tribe achieve some of the rights that have been taken away. In this sense, his steps and phases to be undertaken are well organized: upon finishing the ASU College of Public Programs, he will enter the ASU College of Law in the Fall of 1993, where he will study Indian and criminal law. The only obstacle in the way of his achieving his goals is the fact that he needs to take MAT-106 and Mat-117 in order to be able to graduate and enroll in the ASU College of Law. If he does not take his math classes now, he will need to remain another year before entering the law school.
Gordon states that "these mathematics courses are irrelevant" to his goals and can only be considered an obstacle on his way to achieve the goals he has set out for. In the argumentation he uses, he bases his rhetoric on answers and reasons received by members of the educational system. It is time to give out a brief description of their line f argumentation.
According to members of the college and educational departments, Gordon needs math because he needs to achieve a minimum level of math competency in his chosen field, because he needs to satisfy the university math requirement in order to graduate, because he needs to develop creative thinking and because he needs to have a well rounded education
. In my opinion, according to Gordon's reply and his own argumentation, the only argument that may actually stand ground is the argument on requirements. I will show further below why.
Gordon shows, first of all, that the minimum level of competency is an argument that does not apply in his case. Aged 43, Gordon was a "machine and welding contractor" for fifteen years. The job he had allowed him not only to study, but actually use many of the mathematical notions that were being taught in college. According to Gordon, he has been using algebra and geometry, but not the exact algebra taught by with MAT-106 and MAT -117.
Indeed, judging by the arguments that Gordon brings and relating this to his future field of activity, where we should admit that the algebra requirement is at a significantly low level, we may arrive at the conclusion that the first argument has no real basis: Gordon has achieved, through practice, a degree of mathematics knowledge more than sufficient for his future needs in his line of work. Additionally, Gordon makes a well-proven point by showing that when one needs a specialist for a certain job, it is much easier to go about hiring one rather than learning how to perform the task yourself. Outsourcing is the best choice in many cases nowadays.
In terms of creative thinking, Gordon seems to be right again, but this time, we can actually see some of the truthfulness in the other side argumentation. Gordon sustains the fact that his creative side was developed both by his job as a welder and his ability to design and build race bikes. On the other hand, we should acknowledge the fact that these type of activities develop a somewhat specialized for of creative thinking, to be precise, a constructive and design side. Algebra also pursues imaginative thinking and other areas which Gordon's activities do not affect in such a way.
The well rounded education is perhaps the least effective of all. What does a well rounded education actually mean?! A well-rounded education may also include astronomy, ancient Greek, Roman history or pottery. In what ways is any of these items different from the study of algebra, in terms of well rounded education? It is obvious that this argument does not refer to the applicability aspect and that a well rounded education is not necessarily made up of things that can actually serve a certain purpose in life, algebra included here. So, in my opinion, the well rounded argument is not viable because a well rounded education is practically related to the requirement argument I will describe further below: a well rounded education is decided upon by people who knows what is best for all students and which classes are necessary to result in a well rounded education.
The final argument is related to the necessary requirements that are needed in order to be able to graduate. This is, in my opinion, perhaps the only argument against which Gordon has no reasonable answer. As a student, Gordon is not involved in deciding which classes are necessary for a student to graduate from college. Further more, as a student, he is not at large to discuss or question whether the classes that are needed to graduate are reasonable. The only right he does indeed possess is the right to choose the respective college or choose a different one where different classes are required for graduation.
This is a similar situation to the rights of a citizen. As a citizen, he may question the taxes that are imposed on him, may argue whether these are fair or not and may question where it is reasonable to pay them. However, he cannot not pay them and, further more, the State cannot exempt him from paying them (of course, there are some exceptions, based on moral and ethical aspects which we will be discussing further below). He has, however, the right to choose a different country where taxation is at lower levels.
We are now able to make some final conclusions on Gordon's petition and make a decision. In my opinion, there are two aspects to be considered in this case, closely interconnected: the ethical aspects and the legal or rule-related aspect.
The ethical aspect would induce us to say that Gordon should be allowed to substitute the algebra course with a course of his choice, mutually agreed with the board, a course which can…[continue]
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