POLS 301, Policy Paper Assignment.    Fall 2015. 

Please write your essay on one of the following three prompts.  Be sure to use the Meehan method in your paper.   Your paper should be between four and six pages in length, and is due Monday, November 2. 


The United States has mostly fulfilled its policy commitment to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan.  However, the situation is deteriorating and there is strong evidence that, come Spring, things will get worse.  Many observers liken the situation to Vietnam, not long before its reunification by force.  Should the U.S. commit a sufficient number of combat troops to prevent this outcome?


After a very long review period, the Keystone XL pipeline proposal is still developing.  Should it be the policy of the U.S. government to approve the Keystone XL pipeline? 


Amanda Ripley, in The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way (Simon & Schuster, 2013) reports that three features distinguish the high performing schools in Finland, South Korea, and Poland.  (1) Very high classroom rigor (She gives examples of students able to forego calculators and do math problems in their head), and only giving excellent grades to very high achievers.  (2) Teachers are recruited from the top college students, mediocre teacher training programs were closed, and teacher pay was enough to entice these students into the profession.  (3) Parents were asked to be involved at home (not in the classroom, not in school fundraisers, etc.) working on reading, writing, and math.  Are these insights specific enough to serve as policy guidance?  Answer that question using the Meehan method.