These are some of my best essays, all graded according to my rubric. As promised in the same post, they are excerpted as follows.

One student in particular outright hates America’s first serious female candidate, and defends our first serious African-American candidate while he’s at it.

Hillary Clinton would not be where she is today if she wasn’t a woman. The worst part about it being that she uses it against her equally qualified competitors who are male. Change and wanding something new is how she starts and finishes, not to mention the ever-so-sickening line, “What can be more new than a woman president?” [sic] The fact that she’s using the gender card is giving herself and females in general a horrible look. …

Obama has to fight to prove himself as a younger candidate and gets flack for being black and not being black enough at the same time. This sickens me. This is America. Why can’t people just be people and not worry about gender or race? What is it that some should feel guilty for not voting for the Black guy or that one chick running? …

If America was in fact truly the land of the free, gender and race would not matter. It’s time for people to start listening and stop watching. The fact that people like Edwards can’t get a fair shot at the presidency because he’s up against two “firsts” is horrible.

Maybe we’re not ready for change after all.

He had started his essay by contrasting the Democrats to the Republicans, lamenting that the Republicans “had great candidates like Ron Paul, John McCain and Mitt Romney.”

Perhaps to show that his answer isn’t reflective of my own carefully guarded bias, another student, to put it nicely, disagrees. It was good enough that I couldn’t help but transcribe it in full:

When it comes down to who I want to lead my country, I don’t care so much how they say it but rather what they say. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said, “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.” I don’t shame his thoughts.

I believe that what you represent and how you campaign is how you will govern. We have two Democratic candidates what fit this perfectly. We have Obama who is the poet and who sways the crowd with his speeches and we have Hillary who sticks to what matters.

Yes, Obama the poet. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t want a president who can quote Shakespeare and get me all teary-eyed and emotional and have no idea what he’s doing. Yes, he can rally a crowd and get everyone pumped up and to follow him no matter what but that makes me think of another leader in history and his name was Hitler.

Yes, he went there. Give him a break for not thinking of perhaps fairer conjectures. It continues.

Obama never sticks to the issues or what matters. He just plays the crowd, and who knows what he would all of a sudden stand for if he were in office?

Hillary Clinton may not move the crowd. She may not be able to dominate you with her every word. No, Hillary is straightforward and lets you know where she stands. I feel that I could trust someone who is telling me the truth rather than dancing around it.

Mario Cuomo got it wrong. It does not take poetry during a campaign because we have candidates in the lead right now without all the fancy “speachers.” What’s important with any leader is that they are straightforward and let us know where we are being led.

This and the essay that includes the earlier excerpt received full credit. Both would have competed for top score between the classes, had the first author not bombed the second essay with a five-point score.


  1. The thing that gets me is that we had the first black man getting this far in the presidential race, the first woman getting this far in the presidential race, but we heard more than either of those two things the fact that a Mormon was running. I like to see students challenging the popular thought. Good job.

  2. Maybe it’s because I’m in California, or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading The New York Times, but I heard a lot more about the Democrats’ “firsts” than the Republicans’.

  3. whydidyoudoit

    The Clinton campaign didn’t have a healthcare plan befor it felled and they don’t have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a goverment employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employors or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don’t pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn’t stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words “UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE” This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

  1. 1 If Your Tests Aren’t Too Hard, They’re Too Easy « On the Tenure Track

    […] 50 points will later be combined with their grades from their two essay questions — 25 points each — to create a psychologically ideal 100-point test. It was too […]

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