ACT Writing Prompt & Essay 2

Sample ACT Writing Prompt

Each year, many books and other educational material are challenged by parents and school communities because they are considered “harmful to minors.” This includes many classic academic works such as The Handmaid’s Tale and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. However, many people believe that “banning” these books prevents students from learning about relevant issues and shelters them from the realities of the world. In your opinion, should books be banned from school if they contain material that could be considered offensive?

Sample ACT Writing Essay

The purpose of education is to learn about life and how to face the issues that happen to us within our lives. In a math course, it would be how to balance a budget. In a history course, it could be discussion of prejudice and how to prevent it happening in the future. In literature study courses, it can involve reading a variety of books written from different perspectives. This helps teenagers to learn about the many problems that are faced by humanity and opinions on how to resolve them. In today’s society, teenagers face more serious issues than ever before. We also encounter many different cultures and perspectives that provide different beliefs and solutions to any given problem. Although everyone may not agree on what solutions are acceptable or not, I feel that the education of young people is negatively affected by banning books in the classroom.

“Because I said so!” This is a statement made by a child. However, many parents and school officials take this stance when they decide that certain books and materials should not be used in the classroom. They feel that they are helping students by sheltering them from controversial materials. However, students today are different than students that were walking the halls of our same schools twenty years ago. With the rise of the internet and cell phones, we have a world of information at our fingertips. Young people lose their innocence at a much younger age. By the time we are in high school, many of us are also parents, life partners, and full time employees in the work force. Books that address controversial issues also address issues that are actually relevant to teenagers today. If the school system wasn’t afraid to face these issues head on, students may actually feel that their education has importance in their own lives.

We now live in a global world. We will attend colleges and join workplaces with people from many different backgrounds, religions and beliefs. If school systems and parents choose to “shelter” students from perspectives that differ from their own, how will we be expected to face these issues when we become adults? Isn’t it much better to learn these things within the safe environment of the classroom as opposed to a possibly hostile environment such as a workplace, where intolerance will be answered with termination with possible lifelong consequences?

Students face a variety of problems in their lives. I feel that adults take our abilities to deal with issues in books for granted. If a student is sexually assaulted in real life, why should we fear reading and discussing a book where a girl faces the same issues and is able to overcome? If we are facing pregnancy pacts and sexually transmitted diseases in school, why can’t we read a book that discusses the consequences of promiscuity? If we are completing our education during a powerful recession in our country, why should we shy away from discussing novels that address horrifyingly possible futuristic scenarios?

If adults feel that we cannot handle reading books that contain questionable material, then they do not have faith in our ability to deal with everyday life. If they feel that we are to be that sheltered from the world, they may as well keep us in a plastic bubble for the rest of our lives. Is it not far better to teach students that their issues are not unique to their situation and that there are many ways to deal with both personal and worldwide problems? Since the purpose of high school is to prepare students for life, it is useless to try to shelter them from reality.

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