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This opinion piece appears on the “Houston Chronicle” as an editor’s piece and it seeks to persuade readers to vote ‘no’ in an upcoming referendum on Robbing HISD (Houston Independent School District). The article’s title is “Voters Should Say No to Putting District under Robin Hood Recapture Plan” and it is a direct appeal to potential voters to reject the proposed changes (Houston Chronicle, 2016).
The sentiments contained within the article are part of an ongoing debate on whether the HISD should abandon the existing school funding system or adopt the state-favored method. This essay offers a short reflection of this opinion article including the validity of its claims.
Referendum on the distribution of school funds
The article’s opening statements are direct references to the seriousness of the decision that the voters are facing. The writers of the article proceed to claim that most voters are likely to be confused by the wording of the referendum question. The article highlights that HISD is more likely to perform better if the electorate votes ‘no’ to the referendum question. The authors of the article justify their claim by noting that the school district is more likely to suffer the consequences of an inefficient school-funding system in the hands of the state.
The article also points out that the Texas Supreme Court recently failed to give the favored school-funding system a vote of confidence. The article also warns about possible deficits in school funding if the current system is changed (Houston Chronicle, 2016). The authors conclude the article by noting that although the current regime is not perfect, it is better for the legislature to fix it than distribute school funds to a worse system.
The most striking thing about this article is that it is straightforward and only uses simple reader-persuasion techniques. Most opinion articles are long-winded and they often use complicated jargon in the hope of impressing their readers. However, this article does not employ this technique and even its title is straightforward. This approach adds credence to the article. For instance, the authors of the article note that the framing of the referendum question is intentionally meant to confuse voters. Therefore, it would be hypocritical for them to use the same tactic to sway readers.
Although the article has high levels of coherence, it is important to note that its argument is mostly one-sided. The authors only defend the position of the HISD and point out the incompetence of the state. However, this sustained argument fails to consider that not all state machinery is doomed to fail or underperform. It would also be fair to consider that the state also can handle the recaptured finances now or in the future.
Another issue is that the argument main is biased because the author argues from the position of a Houston citizen. This means the article is only valid to Houston dwellers and not other readers from other parts of Texas or the rest of the country. For example, the article should also have addressed the concerns of other Texas residents by probably assuring them that a ‘no’ vote would not undermine their position.
The article is a simplistic and effective opinion piece, especially to its targeted Houston audience. However, the article lacks a broader perspective that is important for universal topics such as public education. Instead, the article mixes political outlooks with the important issue of education.
Houston Chronicle. (2016). Voters should say no to putting district under robin hood recapture plan. Web.