Posted: February 27th, 2023

Touchstone 3.1 ( English)

© 2015 Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society


Samantha Deane
Loyola University Chicago

In The New York Times parenting blog, Motherlode, Debra Monroe

writes about “the dynamic that makes public school democratic—a place to
confront the humanity of others,” because she is concerned with what
schooling teaches children about diversity and difference.1 This paper begins
with a similar assumption and concern; I too think schools ought to be places
where children learn to confront the humanity and difference of others, and I
am concerned with how children are taught to do so. Through an analysis of
school uniform policies and theories of social justice, I argue not that children
consciously experience school uniforms as uniforming, but that school
uniforms and their foregoing policies assume that confronting strangers—an
imperative of living in a democratic polity—is something that requires seeing
sameness instead of recognizing difference. Imbuing schooling with a directive
that says schools ought to be places where children learn to confront the
humanity of others requires that we ask questions about how educational
policies teach children to deal with human difference. Broadly speaking,
uniform policies undergird the assumption that a child’s capacity to confront
difference is unimportant.2

To consider the ways in which school uniform policies unjustly teach
children to disregard difference so that they can reasonably participate in public
and school life, this paper engages in a rich conversation about social justice.
Fundamentally, social justice is about recognizing grave injustices between
individual persons and groups of people living in, or being prevented from
living in, the world. The works of John Rawls, Iris Marion Young, and Nancy
Fraser represent three common theoretical constructs for dealing with social
justice. Rawls comes from a social contract position and constructs a floating
theory of justice based on a Kantian self that ultimately addresses injustices by
way of redistribution.3 Young aligns herself with critical theory, founds her
critique in the messiness of the “real world,” and tackles injustice by

1 Debra Monroe, “When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose.”
Motherlode (blog), New York Times (January 19, 2014),
2 I am purposefully not differentiating between public and private schooling, because all
schooling situated in a democratic context ought to teach children to confront the
humanity of others. Moreover, children are a part of the larger “public” in a Deweyan
3 John Rawls, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, ed. Erin Kelly (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 2001).

Deane – Dressing Diversity


advocating for a politics of difference.4 All the while, Fraser works out a
bivalent conception of social justice that bridges the divide between the spheres
of distribution and recognition.5 Rawls’s Justice as Fairness: A Restatement is
the theoretical backdrop against which this paper employs Young’s Justice and
the Politics of Difference and Fraser’s “Social Justice in the Age of Identity
Politics: Redistribution, Recognition, and Participation” to speak to the ways in
which diversity can and should be “undressed,” and therefore, “addressed” by
children in school.

To “address” diversity, the first section of this paper will focus on the
language of school uniform policies. Policy makers tell us that school uniform
policies are meant to: minimize disruptive behavior, remove socioeconomic
tension, and maintain high academic standards.6 There is nothing unjust about
wanting to reduce socioeconomic difference, nor valuing high academic
standards. What is unjust is that these policies do not remove socioeconomic
difference, nor cure disruptive behavior. School uniform policies dress
difference; they do not address it. Accordingly, in an attempt to “undress”
difference, and, perhaps, “redress” the injustice of school uniform policies, the
second section of this paper argues that schools ought to be places where
children are confronted with the humanity of others. The argument is that
removing uniforms should not be a mere undressing that leaves children to deal
with difference and humiliation on their own, but that we must redress the
injustice by philosophically resituating schooling. Finally, the concluding
section will sketch out what it might mean to philosophically resituate schools
and to think of school life as a reflection of city life where, “the public is
heterogeneous, plural, and playful, a place where people witness and appreciate
the diverse cultural expressions that they do not share and do not fully
understand.”7 Schools in this vision are not apolitical sanctuaries where
children develop into perfect rational subjects; rather, schools are messy,
vibrant, lively, worlds where children both constitute and come to know the
diverse world and public(s) that surround them.

Dressing Diversity: The School Uniform Policy

A policy bulletin from Los Angeles states: “The Los Angeles Unified
School District believes that appropriate student dress contributes to a

4 Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1990).
5 Nancy Fraser, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics: Redistribution,
Recognition, and Participation.” Tanner Lecture Series, Stanford University (April 30–
May 2, 1996), .
6 David L. Brunsma, “School Uniforms in Public Schools,” National Association of
Elementary School Principals (January/February 2006), 50.
7 Young, Politics of Difference, 241.



productive learning environment.”8 While a policy from Pitt County states:
“The implementation of school uniforms will help minimize disruptive
behavior, promote respect for oneself and others, build school/community
spirit, and, more significantly, help to maintain high academic standards.”9
Most school uniform policies echo these sentiments. They appear to originate
from a genuine desire for students to succeed academically, and/or a need to
improve behavior and safety. Yet, the history of asking students to appear one
way or another is a story of mingled concerns about academic achievement,
juvenile delinquency, gender appropriateness, race relations, and gang
affiliation.10 Ines Dussel historically situates these concerns within a broad
trend toward institutional organization and control of people who pivot around
the “axis of difference.”11 According to Dussel, “such policies were tied to the
disciplining of ‘unruly’, ‘savage’, ‘untamed’ bodies, that is, the bodies of those
who were not able to perform self‐regulation or self‐government: women,
Black, Indian, poor classes, immigrants, toddlers or infants.”12 In Young’s
language, the victims of cultural imperialism are frozen “into a being marked as
other,” while the dominant group occupies a universal “unmarked” position.13
The impetus to uniform is at once entangled in a project to mark or dress
difference and to extend the “universalized” position to the “other.”14 The
policy trend toward institutional control vis-à-vis school uniform policies is
enmeshed in the desire for definition and regulation of student’s personal
bodies and is a means to regulate and define children’s relationships with one

School uniform policies are not merely concerned with what one
wears, but are a part of how we organize schools and the students therein.
These policies are an attempt to make schools safer and better, to regulate what
happens, and who affiliates with whom. A District of Columbia uniform policy
hints at these underlying tensions by taking measures to define what “uniform”
means within the policy: “The term ‘uniform,’ for the purposes of a mandatory
uniform policy, is defined as clothing of the same style and/or color and

8 Jim Morris, “Student Dress Codes/Uniforms,” Los Angeles Unified School District
Policy Bulletin, BUL-2549.1 (December 2009), 1.
9 Ibid.
10 Wendell Anderson, “School Dress Codes and Uniform Policies,” Policy Report
(ERIC Clearinghouse on Education Management), no. 4 (2002), 4. Anderson briefly
captures this history in the synopsis of his policy report.
11 Ines Dussel, “When Appearances Are Not Deceptive: A Comparative History of
School Uniforms in Argentina and the United States (Nineteenth–Twentieth
Centuries),” Paedagogica Historica 41, no. 1–2 (2005): 191.
12 Ibid.
13 Young, Politics of Difference, 123.
14 To this point, Dussel, notes that elite, private, “preppy” school dress was extended
down, as it were, to public mass schooling and has become the school uniform we are
familiar with today, e.g. khaki pants and Oxford shirts.

Deane – Dressing Diversity


standard look, as agreed upon by the school community.”15 Nonetheless, a
definition of “uniform” does little to draw attention away from the fact that the
policy is asking all children to appear the same. The concluding advice from a
US Department of Education policy report for drafting a uniform policy reads:
“when they are justified by a school’s circumstances, wisely conceived in
collaboration with the community, and coupled with appropriate interventions,
dress codes and school uniforms may positively influence school climate,
student behavior, and academic success. However, it is critical to keep such
polices in proper perspective and avoid overestimating or exaggerating their
potential benefits.”16 This hesitant endorsement of school uniform policies
manages to advise caution about drawing specific cause-and-effect
relationships between school uniforms and academic gains, and in the same
instance, it glosses over the historical and philosophical significance of asking
students to uniformly dress their difference. Standardizing how students appear
may give the school an air of control over the schooling environment, but in
doing so, these policies tell students that when and where appearances differ,
danger lurks.

Addressing Diversity: Social Justice
and the School Uniform Policy

Claims for social justice, more often than not, stem from one of two
directions; summed up by references to distribution or recognition, social
injustices are either rectified by redistributing wealth/social goods, or by
recognizing and valuing difference. Redistributive claims generally follow the
logic of John Rawls’ theory of justice and utilize some version of an “original
position.” The policy logic, or reasoning behind, school uniform policies
broadly appeals to logic derived from a distributional ethic, which finds its
ideal articulation of the student in the rational, reasoning, and regulated self.
The problem with this ideal articulation and the distributional ethic is best
illustrated by evaluating the ways in which Rawls’ theory of social justice
informs the rationale of school uniform policies.

Rawls’s theory of justice and the school uniform policy share a similar
objective: thinly constructed reasoning parties. In Justice as Fairness Rawls
develops the “original position” whereby parties can agree to the terms of
society and justice without conceding “differences in life prospects.”17 That is
to say, difference or diversity is an essential consideration in Rawls’ project. In
an effort to deal with the mandates of diversity, the fact of pluralism, Rawls
adopts and builds upon the Kantian deontological self to describe the sort of
people contracting in the original position. Accordingly, the original position

15 “District of Columbia Public Schools: Notice of Final Rule Making,” (District of
Columbia Register, vol. 56, no. 33, Chapter B24, Section B2408, August 2009), 3.
16 Anderson, “School Dress Codes,” 4, my emphasis.
17 Rawls, Justice as Fairness, 6.3–6.4, 12.2.



imbues these intrinsically worthy subjects with neutrality and structural
impartiality, both of which ensure that they are representative of any person
from society. Placed behind the “veil of ignorance,” the parties are situated
symmetrically and on this undifferentiated plane they do not claim a social
class, racial or sexual orientation, a comprehensive conception of the good, or
any other distinguishing factor.18 Rawls states, “the parties are artificial
persons, merely inhabitants of our device of representation: they are characters
who have a part in the play of our thought experiment.” 19 In consequence the
representatives in the original position are, admittedly, non-real characters with
limited knowledge, or “complicated amnesia.”20 Moreover, it is the
“complicated amnesia,” or the “veil of ignorance” that gives the parties the
ability to be impartial and, more importantly, rational.

It is true that Rawls works to construct a thin consensus in the public
about society’s basic structures because he wants to leave open the ability to
construct individually defined thick lives; however, the parties of the original
position are abstracted to such an extent that a monological position ensues.
Michael Sandel summarizes the problem aptly: “The notion that not persons
but only a single subject is to be found behind the veil of ignorance would
explain why no bargaining or discussion can take place there.”21 The “veil of
ignorance” removes the parties’ “thickness” so that they can reason together.
The problem is that a truly pluralistic or diverse society will not be the product
when a single subject conceives the definitions of justice. What’s more, the
agreement of like-minded parties does not necessitate actual participation—it
merely requires appearance. Uniform policies are theoretically similar. They
function as a “veil of ignorance” for children who are too poor, too brown, or
too different from one another to be members of the same school. Uniform
policies imply that children in uniform are freed from any context that might
impose a restraint on reason. Under a “veil of ignorance” children are not asked
to think about why their classmate is poor, or brown; they are required to show
up. Rawls’ theory of justice constructs thin, uniform, rational people (students)
who can operate in the political sphere (school) as a way to achieve some kind
of overlapping consensus (standard academic achievement). I believe it is clear
that these thinly constituted people are both objectionable and impractical;
nonetheless, Young helps draw out the unwelcome side affects of favoring the
impartial subject and proposes an alternative solution.

Young approaches justice from within the messy, situated context of
the world. Her argument for a politics of difference highlights the fact that
theories of distributive justice have monopolized the conversation about what
justice entails in the era of modern political philosophy, such that “displacing

18 Ibid., 23.3, 25.3.
19 Ibid., 23.4.
20 Michael J. Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1982), 105.
21 Ibid., 132.

Deane – Dressing Diversity


the distributive paradigm” is part of accepting her theory of justice as
recognition of difference.22 For Young the distributive paradigms pose a large-
scale problem in the sense that the “ideal of impartiality or logic of identity”
infiltrates every aspect of civic life. The logic of identity is problematic because
of the intrinsic desire for unity. As such, “The logic of identity seeks to reduce
the plurality of particular subjects, their bodily, perspectival experience, to a
unity, by measuring them against the unvarying standard of universal reason.”23
The reverence deferred to universal reason is part of the project of moral ethics,
which defines impartiality as necessary for the capacity to reason. The Kantian
deontological ideal is to find a point of view that everyone can agree to, or see
from, irrespective of their particular difference. School uniform polices strive
for the same ideal. The hope is that if kids are all wearing the same clothing, no
one will notice another’s socioeconomic status, or speak from their particular
position. The ideal of impartiality creates a dichotomy between the “universal
and the particular, public and private, and reason and passion” to the extent that
the civic public, the terrain of schooling, becomes the place of universal
reason.24 Much like the problem identified by Sandel’s reading of Rawls’
original position, universal reason requires agreement of abstracted parties, not
dialogue with those who are differently situated. Furthermore, if the terrain of
schooling is a place of universal reason it is no wonder that the “either-or
thinking” of dichotomies reigns. Children are either uniformed or partial,
uniformed or needy, uniformed or irrational.

Young pointedly explains that the “ideal of impartiality” is flat out
impossible, because it requires expelling the aspects of difference that do not
fit. In fact, “no one can adopt a view that is completely impersonal and
dispassionate.”25 Additionally, my sense of imbeddedness defines my “social
location” to the degree that I cannot enter someone else’s location.
Nevertheless, if it is possible to strip myself of my location, what then is the
purpose of having a location?26 Requiring the removal of particularity for
uniformity, whether for moral cohesion or universal reason, is an affected wish.
People do not have to be the same to get along; rather, it is possible for people
to be both partial and have reasonable associations with each other. Young
argues, “If one assumes instead that moral reason is dialogic, the product of
discussion among differently situated subjects all of whom desire recognition
and acknowledgement from the others, then there is no need for a universal
point of view to pull people out of egoism.”27 Thus, the ideal of impartiality is
not a necessity, and should not be a desire since it is a fanciful fiction. Instead,

22 Young, Politics of Difference, 15.
23 Ibid., 99.
24 Ibid., 97.
25 Ibid., 103.
26 Ibid., 105.
27 Ibid.,106.



if we grant that differently situated people can and should have a voice to
discuss what matters to them, we will see their differences shed new light on
relevant issues and aspects of justice.

School uniform policies, like the “ideal of impartiality,” create unjust
expectations of neutrality on behalf of students, and in removing the space for
actual conversation, depoliticize difference. In contrast, the recognition of
difference presumes that “blindness to difference disadvantages groups whose
experience, culture, and socialized capacities differ from those of privileged
groups”28 and that “assimilation always implies coming to the game late.”29 As
reflected in school uniform policies, the ideal of impartiality, in its blindness to
difference, disadvantages students who are asked to assimilate by removing the
space for conversation about difference. Moreover, no child should feel like
they are coming to the game late, especially in a learning environment.
Recognition of difference should be an essential function of schooling to the
extent that any language of assimilation finds no purchase. Writ large, Young’s
solution may appear obvious at this point, but it is worth stating explicitly: “A
democratic public should provide mechanisms for the effective recognition and
representation of the distinct voices and perspectives of those of its constituent
groups that are oppressed or disadvantaged.”30 The solution writ small in, say, a
school system, should mimic the same sentiments. Requiring student to wear
uniforms is not the problem: the problem is the reason for requiring uniforms.

A unique answer to Young’s demand to displace the distributive is
Nancy Fraser’s mixing of the distributive paradigm with recognition. Fraser
starts by noting that the distributive paradigm has a certain theoretical heft—at
some point various groups or individuals have appealed to their common
humanity, the original position, or impartial reason out of necessity, perceived
or actual. With the weightiness of the distributive paradigm in mind, Fraser
erects a “bivalent axis” of social justice she calls a “two pronged” approach.
The bivalent axis of social justice is best thought of as a spectrum within which
a pendulum can swing from distinctly distributional problems to those
characterized as distinctly recognition-based, but where neither is ever the
singular answer.31 The pendulum is always in motion. According to Fraser, “A
bivalent conception treats distribution and recognition as distinct perspectives
on, and dimensions of, justice, while at the same time encompassing both of
them within a broader overarching framework.” This does not mean that either
claim, distribution or recognition, is subsumed into the other.32 Instead, Fraser
locates their shared normative core as a “parity of participation.”33 As she
explains, “According to this norm, justice requires social arrangements that

28 Ibid., 164.
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid., 184.
31 Fraser, “Age of Identity Politics,” 22.
32 Ibid., 24.
33 Ibid., 30.

Deane – Dressing Diversity


permit all (adult) members of society to interact with one another as peers.”34
In other words, justice both of the distributional and recognition varieties,
stems from the supposition that each member of society has equal dignity and
ought to have the means to interact with one another in the public sphere.

Fraser’s “parity of participation,” relies on an understanding of the
imbricated nature of culture and the economy. To say that justice spans a
continuum from distribution to recognition is also to say that the economy and
culture are institutions that make up our shared social world.35 The conditions
for this parity of participation require a form of legal equality, and preclude
“forms and levels of material inequality, [and] cultural patterns that
systematically depreciate some categories of people.”36 People within this
framework are thickly defined and contextually situated. They have both
objective being that requires some kind of material position, and an
intersubjective status that mandates recognition. The objective condition is,
thus, most often rectified by redistribution, whereas the intersubjective
condition is nullified by recognition. Fraser takes a decidedly rooted stance in a
turn toward the pragmatic and recommends that answers to the injustice fit the
practical situation. The pragmatic approach is the tool by which we ought to
deploy the bivalent pendulum, which is always seeking the normative ideal,
parity of participation. In every case the remedy of an injustice should be
tailored to the harm, and in all cases the goal is to create, maintain, and
reimagine a space for equal participation of each person or group of people.

Fraser’s pragmatic answer, and its normative assumption, is not
radically divergent from Young’s grounding in critical social theory whereby
she defines a “politics of difference.” Young’s politics of difference, after all,
takes that differently situated people can have a discussion that leads to moral
reason and just social structures.37 The distinction between Fraser’s parity of
participation and Young’s politics of difference rests on how equality is
imagined to function. For Fraser the norm “parity of participation” holds that
each person’s voice has equal weight or worth within political discourse.
Conversely, Young notes that the groups who are “oppressed and
disadvantaged” are those for whom mechanisms of recognition must be
appropriated.38 The distinction lies in the fact that Fraser’s “parity of
participation” necessarily strives toward structural equality, as opposed to
merely “mitigating the influence of current biases,” as Young puts it.39 Thus,
Fraser’s bivalent conception is an excellent tool to help us think about the

34 Ibid.
35 As Fraser aptly characterizes the argument, the answer does not lie in statements like:
“it’s the culture stupid,” nor its counterpart “it’s the economy stupid,” 39–41.
36 Ibid., 31.
37 Young, Politics of Difference, 106.
38 Ibid., 192–225.
39 Ibid., 198.



pointed experience of injustice, but Young’s normative politics of difference is
a fuller norm to reach toward.

Conclusion: Redressing Diversity,
City Life as School Life

Employing Fraser’s bivalent continuum, we can say that school
uniform policies are attempts to organize children who may be experiencing
both distributional and recognition related injustices, but because the policies
appeal to a logic of identity and distributional ethic, school uniform policies
operate at the expense of a politics of difference. Following Fraser, a pragmatic
remedy for the injustice of uniforming children in school requires that we
rearticulate the value of “bringing children together in a common space.”40 An
assumption of this paper is that the value of schooling is manifest in more than
narrowly defined achievement or the acceptance of socialized roles. Rather,
because education is always answering a question about what it means to be
human,41 the value of bringing children together in a common space is
evidenced when they learn how to recognize and speak from places of personal
difference. The “dynamic that makes public schools democratic” is the activity
of engaging children and their humanity. Higgins and Knight Abowitz ask,
“What might it mean to think of the classroom not as a room within an
institution that is already public, but as a space in which teachers and learners
make public?”42 It means that we must see children and their teachers, and the
school at large, as a public making project. Democratic schooling demands that
we see children as full of vigorous and playful humanity. It requires that we
engage with children as partial, situated members of the public.

Young imagines an alternative form of social relations—public—
where a politics of difference prevails as analogous to city life.43 Young’s
imaginative view of city life highlights democratic modes of being and is one
way to think about what it might mean to envision the school as forever
“becoming” public. In Young’s parlance, “By ‘city life’ I mean a form of social
relations which I define as the being together of strangers. In the city persons
and groups interact with spaces and institutions they all experience themselves
as belonging to, but without those interactions dissolving into unity or
commonness.”44 Each day an encounter with the city on the train, in the park, at
a restaurant, or in a building requires that we find ways to live together. The
persistent encounter with difference forces city dwellers to recognize that

40 Chris Higgins and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “What Makes a Public School Public?
A Framework for Evaluating the Civic Substance of Schooling,” Educational Theory
61, no. 4 (2011), 369.
41 Gert J. J. Biesta, Beyond Learning: Democratic Education for a Human Future
(Boulder: Paradigm, 2006), 2.
42 Higgins and Knight Abowitz, “Public School,” 379.
43 Young, Politics of Difference, 226–27.
44 Ibid., 237.

Deane – Dressing Diversity


people are just differently situated, or socially located beings, with whom they
can have a partial dialogue. Recognition of our relationally defined being is the
foundation for meaningful conversation about justice and the bivalent
structures, cultural and economic, which shape our shared world. Democracy is
premised on the human ability to engage in dialogue, to plan consequences, and
to generate publics. Moreover, democracy is a human endeavor that requires
people to think about each other from the inside out, a dynamic Young sees in
expressions of city life.45

Extending Young and Fraser into the school, which is a vital and
political part of city life, requires that we imbue children with the capacity to
converse with and about difference. It is unjust and naïve to believe a student’s
capacity for confronting difference is any less than a typical member of a city.
City living implies a form of social relations that requires “a being together of
strangers,” but it does so no more than school living ought to, if schools do
have “the dynamic that makes them democratic.”46 Moreover, the school is an
institution each child can belong to; it is a place where they ought to be given
the opportunity to come together as a public of strangers to workout the
problems of associated living. By appealing to a “veil of ignorance” or logic of
impartiality school uniform policies unjustly teach children to rid themselves of
emotion, race, and gender so that they can reason.47 All this logic does is
perpetuate the idea that you cannot reason while emotional, that race and
reason cannot be articulated together, and that gender affects who is rational
and when. In my evaluation, social justice requires that we facilitate “a politics
of difference” and foster a “bivalent approach” toward the axes of injustice to
support children in their growth. The “dynamic that makes school democratic”
only works when children are trusted with difference, diversity, and
strangeness—at least to the extent that we trust members of a city with the

45 Martha C. Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).
46 Young, Politics of Difference, 237; see also Monroe, “When Elite Parents Dominate.”
47 For more on ritualization and gender and school uniforms see: Allison Happel,
“Ritualized Girl: School Uniforms and the Compulsory Performance of Gender,”
Journal of Gender Studies 22, no. 1(2013): 92–95.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II


Nyeri Robison

Sophia Pathways

English Composition II

December 13, 2019

Eat More Greens!: Why Everyone Should Adopt More of a Plant-based Diet

For many people around the globe, meat is the highlight of the dinner plate. From gyros

to hamburgers, chicken shawarma to veal pie, people love their meat-based diets, and for good

reasons, too. It tastes good, it is versatile in many dishes, and it provides complete amino acids,

the building blocks of protein. However, there are also many people who choose to omit meat

from their diet completely and choose a plant-based diet instead. Vegetarians, for example, do

not eat meat, and vegans do not eat any animal products. People have a variety of reasons for

avoiding meat: religious, moral, or health-related. However, there are other reasons in recent

decades that have led more people to see the value of a meat-free, plant-based diet. As the effects

of climate change and the threats of overpopulation loom, more and more people are considering

vegetarianism as a simple, positive way to help reduce their carbon footprints and to encourage

stores, restaurants, and food suppliers to do the same. Although meat has been a longstanding

and important part of many balanced diets, cultures, and food industries around the world, I want

Comment [1]: Great summary of the pro-meat
argument. It gives many reasons why people like it and
find it an important part of their daily lives.

Comment [2]: This is another great summary of the
reasons why people do not eat meat. It gives a good
list of different reasons why a person wouldn’t want
meat as part of their diet.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

to argue that everyone practices an informed and balanced diet of less meat and more greens for

the good not only of their health but for the well-being of the entire planet.

Everyone on both sides seem to agree that meat should not lightly be cut out of the

human diet or the economy. For example, everyone knows protein is an important part of human

health. Meat has historically played an important role both as a major source of complete

proteins (Bailey, 2018, para. 1). There are many amino acids that the body cannot produce on its

own, and meat provides all of them in readily available forms in a way that many other food

groups cannot, especially since the vegetarian diet requires a fair amount of knowledge and

planning to ensure one gets all nutritional needs met (para. 2). Additionally, meat is the reason

underlying many jobs, from farmers and ranchers to meat packers, butchers, and chefs (Abbot,

2018, para. 5). What would happen to those jobs if people suddenly stopped eating meat?

Finally, one does not need to do careful research to know that meat can be delicious, and almost

everyone around the world involves meat in some form as part of cultural or ethnic traditions.

Proponents of meat-based diets believe that animal proteins should continue to play a

crucial role in the health of our bodies and our economy. Roger Abbot (2018), for example, has

noted that aside from protein, meat is an important source of iron and many B-vitamins,

particularly B12 which is crucial for energy production (para. 7). He also argues that the meat

and poultry industries are pillars of U.S. agriculture, producing together nearly 100 billion

pounds of product and generating hundreds of thousands of jobs in 2017 (para. 5). Obviously,

these are important points, not to mention there are also many people who raise livestock for

consumption in sustainable ways, and many people also hunt for their food, which is also a

valuable way of culling otherwise-uncontrollable animal populations (para. 6). In other words,

many economies and food chains are very much dependent on people who seek out meat.

Comment [3]: Excellent Thesis! You do a great job of
showing the merit of both sides, and presenting an
argument that advocates for a compromise in each.

Comment [4]: Great use of the source to help
strengthen your essay.

Comment [5]: This is a good point!

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

Nevertheless, advocates for plant-based diets argue that cutting out the majority of meat

one of the many steps we need to ensure good health for our bodies and the earth. First, it is

possible to get all of the required nutrients and sufficient protein without meat. As Jane Bailey

(2018) has pointed out, “You cannot just eat pizza and chips and call it vegetarian…You need to

educate yourself and do it right” (para. 2). According to Bailey, “A diverse, well-balanced diet of

beans, legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables is more than enough to provide all of a typical

human’s dietary needs, and supplements exist to fill in any leftover gaps” (para. 2). Additionally,

a well-informed plant-based diet contains less saturated fat, cholesterol, and fewer carcinogens,

as well as more fiber and antioxidants (para. 3). As for taste, there are now more delicious meat

substitutes than ever, including the popular Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat (para. 4).

Individual health and taste aside, however, are the pressing problems of climate change. Bailey

catalogs the toll that meat production takes on our planet, naming everything from deforestation

of the Amazon and other regions (para. 9) to the massive amounts of water and energy it takes to

raise, transport, and prepare livestock for consumption (para. 10). Alternatively, most edible

plant products do not require the fraction of a fraction as much land, water, or energy per pound,

in addition to actively absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (para. 11). Finally, there is

tons of economic, job-creating potential in green farming and green initiatives, including new

research looking into growing entirely new crops underwater (para. 13). We can begin to make

vegetables and veggie proteins more accessible and find new ways to fit them into our diets, our

cultures, and our lives.

There are so many good individual, national, and global reasons for everyone to begin

making the shift to a more plant-based diet, without having to completely omit meat. Although it

has been a longstanding part of our life and many people would be sad to see less of it, it is

Comment [6]: This is something that many people don’t
know about the meat industry. I’m glad you called
attention to it!

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

nothing compared to the losses and damages we will continue to witness as a part of climate

change. I admit that not all animal products need to disappear for this to happen. Also, hunting

certain animals such as deer probably has to continue unless we are willing to increase the

number of their natural predators. However, even small changes can have a big impact. For the

sake of our planet, the world’s population, and our health, I encourage everyone to eat meat a

little less, and eat green a little more!


Abbot, Roger (2018). “Why Meat Matters.” The Economist. June 17, 2018. Retrieved 29 October

2019 from

Bailey, Jane (2018). “Why the World Needs a Meatless Diet.” The Atlantic. June 11, 2018.

Retrieved 29 October 2019 from


Comment [7]: Wonderful concluding sentence. I like
that you’re taking both sides of the argument into
account, satisfying both sides.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

Reflection Questions:

1. How does the Rogerian model of argument help you better understand the topic
that’s being discussed? Why is it a good practice to acknowledge both sides of the

The Rogerian model helps me put both sides of an argument into perspective. If I can put
myself in the shoes of anyone who is for and against a topic, I can better form my
argument to address their views and come up with a solution that can satisfy either side.
It helps me to be more objective instead of jumping to one conclusion right away.

2. Will you use the Rogerian approach in your own argumentative essay? Why or why


I believe I’ll use the practice of putting each side into perspective, but I think in order to
be truly argumentative, I will want to take one side of the issue. I think it can be difficult
to stay in middle-ground for certain arguments, and I have a bit more passion for that
argument when it comes to my stance.

Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

Rogerian Argument Essay Rubric and Feedback


Feedback Score
(acceptable, needs
improvement etc.)

Summary of

You have included a complete summary of
each argument. Don’t forget to introduce the


Claim Your claim is a great one. Instead of cutting
out meat completely, and in order to help
satisfy the movement against meat, you
propose a reduction in the amount of daily
meat consumption instead. You’ve used
many of the supports from both sides to
enhance your argument. Well done!


Organization You have a well-organized essay here.
Everything flows together nicely.


Style There are few, if any, major sentence-level



You adhere to the conventions of standard
written English throughout your paper.


Reflection You have complete and well thought out
responses to the questions provided.


Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition II

Overall Score and Feedback: 47/50

I think you’ve done a great job in creating a Rogerian response to this argument.
You’ve got great supporting claims from each of the sources to help strengthen your
argument, and you have proposed a response that could help create a workable
solution to the issues. Excellent work!

Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You can

work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it until you have completed the unit’s Challenges. Once you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it will be graded

and counted toward your final course score.

Touchstone 3.1: Construct a Rogerian Argument

ASSIGNMENT: As you learned in this unit, a Rogerian argument is one that presents two sides of a debate and argues for a solution that will satisfy both

sides. Given the two articles linked below that present opposing sides of an issue (mandatory uniforms in schools), construct your own 2-3 page

Rogerian argument essay in which you attempt to arrive at a concrete, workable solution or “middle ground.”

The essay should contain the following components:

❒ I) An introduction that presents both sources (i.e., author, title, year of publication, and position in the debate) and your middle ground thesis


❒ II) A body paragraph that summarizes the pro-uniform rationales.

❒ III) A body paragraph that summarizes the anti-uniform rationales.

❒ IV) A body paragraph that critically compares and contrasts both sides of the debate.

❒ V) A conclusion that further develops your proposed middle ground solution and demonstrates how it satisfies both sides of the debate.

Article 1: “School Dress Codes and Uniform Policies”

Article 2: “Dressing Diversity: Politics of Difference and the Case of School Uniforms”

 Sample Touchstone

In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a

0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.

A. Assignment Guidelines

DIRECTIONS: Refer to the list below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.

1. Introduction

Not Submitted Submitted Scored

You can submit this Touchstone when the previous Touchstone has been

 It takes 5-7 business days for a Touchstone to be graded once it’s been submitted.

UNIT 3 — TOUCHSTONE 3.1: Construct a Rogerian Argument




❒ Have you briefly introduced the author and publication context (year, journal, etc.) of Article 1?

❒ Have you briefly introduced the author and publication context (year, journal, etc.) of Article 2?

❒ Have you ended the introduction with a thesis statement/claim that presents a clear, workable solution that could be viewed as a “middle ground”

between the two sides?

2. Body Paragraphs

❒ Have you included a summary of the stance presented in Article 1 in the first body paragraph?

❒ Have you included a summary of the stance presented Article 2 in the second body paragraph?

❒ When using direct quotations, have you supplemented them with your own explanation of their relevance?

❒ Have you adequately compared and contrasted both sides of the debate (with cited examples from the articles) in the third body paragraph?

3. Conclusion

❒ Does your expanded claim address both sides of the issue, including specific points raised in the articles?

❒ Have you backed up your claim using cited facts from both sides of the argument?

4. Reflection

❒ Have you answered all reflection questions thoughtfully and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?

❒ Are your answers included on a separate page below the main assignment?

B. Reflection

DIRECTIONS: Below your assignment, include answers to all of the following reflection questions.

. How does the Rogerian model of argument help you better understand the topic that’s being discussed? Why is it a good practice to acknowledge

both sides of the argument? (3-4 sentences)

. How might the Rogerian approach help you gain insight into your own argumentative essay? (2-3 sentences)

C. Rubric

  Advanced (100%) Proficient (85%) Acceptable (75%) Needs Improvement


Summary of Positions
(10 points)

Introduce the two
sources and summarize
each side of the

Effectively introduces both
authors and provides a
complete and concise
summary of both positions
presented in the articles.

Introduces both authors and
provides a concise summary
of both positions presented
in the articles.

Provides a brief overview of
the authors and positions,
but key details of the
positions may be missing.

Introduces both authors, but
does not provide a complete
summary of positions presented
in the articles.

Does not introduce both
authors and/or does not
provide a summary of each
position presented in the

Thesis/Claim (20

Present a thesis that
advocates for a solution
to satisfy both sides of

Provides a thesis that clearly
and effectively advocates for
a solution to satisfy both
sides of

the argument.

Provides a thesis that clearly
advocates for a solution to
satisfy both sides of the

Provides a clear thesis;
however, it does not
suggest a solution to satisfy
both sides of the argument.

Provides a thesis, but it is
unclear and/or does not
advocate for a solution to satisfy
both sides of the argument.

No clear thesis has been

  Advanced (100%) Proficient (85%) Acceptable (75%) Needs Improvement


the argument.

Organization (5 points)

Exhibit competent
organization and writing

Includes all of the required
components of a Rogerian
argument paper, including an
engaging introduction with
source summaries and a
claim, body paragraphs with
topic sentences, and a
conclusion with a concluding

Includes all of the required
components of a Rogerian
argument paper, including an
introduction with source
summaries and a claim, body
paragraphs with topic
sentences, and a conclusion
with a concluding statement.

Includes nearly all of the
required components of a
Rogerian argument paper;
however, one component is

Includes most of the required
components of a Rogerian
argument paper, but is lacking
two components. Sequences
ideas and paragraphs such that
the connections between ideas
(within and between
paragraphs) are sometimes
unclear and the reader may
have difficulty following the
progression of the argument.

Lacks several or all of the
components of a Rogerian
argument paper. Sequences
ideas and paragraphs such
that the connections between
ideas (within and between
paragraphs) are often unclear
and the reader has difficulty
following the progression of
the argument.

Style (5 points)

Establish a consistent,
informative tone and
make thoughtful stylistic

Demonstrates thoughtful and
effective word choices,
avoids redundancy and
imprecise language, and uses
a wide variety of sentence

Demonstrates effective word
choices, primarily avoids
redundancy and imprecise
language, and uses a variety
of sentence structures.

Demonstrates generally
effective style choices, but
may include occasional
redundancies, imprecise
language, poor word
choice, and/or repetitive
sentence structures.

Frequently includes poor word
choices, redundancies,
imprecise language, and/or
repetitive sentence structures.

Consistently demonstrates
poor word choices,
redundancies, imprecise
language, and/or repetitive
sentence structures.

Conventions (5 points)

Follow conventions for
standard English.

There are only a few, if any,
negligible errors in grammar,
punctuation, spelling,
capitalization, formatting, and

There are occasional minor
errors in grammar,
punctuation, spelling,
capitalization, formatting, and

There are some significant
errors in grammar,
punctuation, spelling,
capitalization, formatting,
and usage.

There are frequent significant
errors in grammar, punctuation,
spelling, capitalization,
formatting, and usage.

There are consistent
significant errors in grammar,
punctuation, spelling,
capitalization, formatting, and

Reflection (5 points)

Reflect on progression
and development
throughout the course.

Demonstrates thoughtful
reflection; consistently
includes insights,
observations, and/or
examples in all responses,
following or exceeding
response length guidelines.

Demonstrates thoughtful
reflection; includes multiple
insights, observations, and/or
examples, following
response length guidelines.

Primarily demonstrates
thoughtful reflection, but
some responses are lacking
in detail or insight; primarily
follows response length

Shows limited reflection; the
majority of responses are
lacking in detail or insight, with
some questions left
unanswered or falling short of
response length guidelines.

No reflection responses are

D. Requirements

The following requirements must be met for your submission to be graded:

• Composition must be 2-3 pages (approximately 500-750 words).

• Double-space the composition and use one-inch margins.

• Use a readable 12-point font.

• All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.

• Composition must be original and written for this assignment.

• Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.

• Submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your composition.

• Include all of the assignment components in a single file.

• Acceptable file formats include and x.

E. Additional Resources

The following resources will be helpful to you as you work on this assignment:

. Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Formatting and Style Guide

a. This site includes a comprehensive overview of APA style, as well as individual pages with guidelines for specific citation types.

. Frequently Asked Questions About APA Style

a. This page on the official APA website addresses common questions related to APA formatting. The “References,” “Punctuation,” and “Grammar and

Writing Style” sections will be the most useful to your work in this course.

. APA Style: Quick Answers—References

a. This page on the official APA Style website provides numerous examples of reference list formatting for various source types.

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