Exemplary Student Writing


Strong Student Writing

English 1A formal essay:

Here is an English 1A student’s Final Essay project from Fall 2012, starting with an Annotated Bibliography, followed by her essay, and with a list of Works Cited at the end. Thank you Rita Phang for allowing us to use your work as one of our examples!

Please note: The essay is not very lengthy — but it incorporates multiple texts and expresses some very complex ideas in rather concise language. It is among the briefest successful ‘research papers’ Rita’s instructor has seen in over twenty years of teaching. And its strength is partially based on the good work Rita did before building the actual essay. That’s why we are featuring her Annotated Bibliography first!


Rita Phang

English 1A

Dec. 15, 2012

Annotated Bibliography

Ellis, Blake. Average Student Loan Debt Nears $27,000. CNNMoney. Cable News Network. 18 Oct. 2012. 04 Dec. 2012.

This article posted on the CNN website gives insight on how an undergraduate student’s debt only continues to increase dramatically each year. Budget cuts are existent while tuition costs and fees rise on a yearly basis. The recession that commenced in 2008 also has deeply impacted the struggle and challenges college graduates face while paying for these loans because there simply isn’t employment.

This document is significant in my paper because it will allow me to provide accurate numbers on the average student debt. This aids my argument because it demonstrates how education seems to become more privatized, and this is something that occupiers are fighting against.


Foreclosure Activity Increases 81 Percent In 2008. 15 Jan. 2009. 04 Dec. 2012.

This article provides numerical data regarding the homes that were foreclosure in the year of 2008. These foreclosures are directly connected to the economic collapse that took place in the United States after various investment banks filed for bankruptcy.

This text is important to utilize in my paper because it provides percentages that will allow me to prove my belief that what these corporations committed are atrocious and thus the Occupy movement is needed. I believe there is no bias in this document because it is simply numerical data that was gathered based on homes that fore closured.


Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. NYC General N.d. 19 Nov. 2012.

The “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” lists the complaints and concerns of those involved in the Occupy movement. According to this text, these reasons include but are not limited to, the bailout of corrupt banks with taxpayer’s money, the continuous bonuses executives receive despite the bankruptcies, the inequality and mistreatment in the workplace, the ridiculously high student debt, “perpetuated colonialism home and abroad”, and the use of military and police force to control the press as reasons for the movement.

This text is essential for my persuasive paper because it is a document that comes directly from the minds of those who began and have participated in the movement. Thus, the authors of this text are credible in terms of my paper and what I will discuss. This document will also allow me to list the reasons for why the movement still exists accurately. However, some bias exists because these are people who are for the occupy movement, therefore, it depicts the movement in a positive light.


“Occupy Wall Street.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 12 May 2012. 05 Dec. 2012.

This simple wikipedia page outlines the origins of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement sprang into action on September of 2011. A specific person or group of leadership does not lead this movement; rather, people from just about every background and belief join in to demand changes regarding our policies and injustices in our society. This movement has been especially monumental for its ability to strike interest and participations from various parts of the country and the world.

This source will just simply allow me to give background information regarding Occupy Wall Street so that the reader can understand how much the movement has progressed, changed, and what difference it has made so far in the past year. Bias could definitely exist in this text because on wikipedia anyone, regardless of their views about the movement, have the access to input information on the website.


“Summary – Inside Job – Condensed Version.” Summary – Inside Job – Condensed Version. The Global FC Zone. N.d. 05 Dec. 2012.

This source simply provides a very condensed summary of all of the important points made the film “Inside Job”. This film gives insight on the truth about what exactly led the United States towards the economic collapse of 2008. Investment banks and insurance companies preyed on vulnerable investors who they knew they could not keep up with the payments thus leading to foreclosures. However, CEO’s of these corporations betted against those same loans they were selling and pocketed the money in their personal accounts.

This source will allow me to portray the unfairness and unjust acts that corporations committed against Americans and how the government failed to protect its people from the coming recession. Bias does not exist in this text because it is simply a summary on a film that the authors of this particular text did not produce.


Rita Phang

English 1A

Dec. 15, 2012

The Necessity of a Mass Movement in 2012

The “Occupy Movement” is a relatively new collective group of people demanding answers and justice for many of the atrocities committed by corporations. Prior to the economic downturn that occurred in 2008, multiple banks participated in illegal and heinous transactions that led the United States into an economic crisis. Thousands of Americans were convinced to sign up for loans that were expected to fail. Bankers were fully aware that people would not be able to pay off their home mortgages and lied to them about the supposed great benefits of these loans. In the end, when the economy crashed in 2008, banks were bailed out, while those involved in the evil acts pocketed their profits, and thousands of Americans were left homeless and jobless. In response to the lack of punishment for those in Wall Street and with the rising rates of foreclosures, the Occupy Movement came together to demand an end to these corporate and economic crimes. Because of the injustices and atrocities committed by corporations, a mass movement like Occupy is needed to raise awareness of and help shift U.S. policies towards the needs of the low-income and middle class people.

Charles Ferguson’s documentary titled Inside Job accurately and efficiently explains the reasons for the economic crisis of 2008. According to the film, the causes for the economic collapse were due to the deregulation in the finance sector, constant fraud, conflicts in interest, and sabotage of politicians by those leading powerful banks and finance corporations. The deregulation of banks and other corporations began under the Reagan administration. This deregulation paved the way for a new way of business – corporations like investments banks were now subject to less discipline and obtained a new freedom to sabotage vulnerable buyers into risky loans. The investment banks sold the debt between other banks and insurance companies so their corporation would not be impacted when the loans could not be paid back. In other words: “each party was removed from risk by selling the debt, lenders could extend absurd loans that were highly unlikely to be repaid, rating agencies could grade the absurd debts highly without consequence, and investors could sell the debts with confidence and bet on the debts with insurance from AIG” (Global FC Zone).

Ordinary people were preyed upon and when their interest rates, along with their monthly payments for their mortgages skyrocketed, the consequences impacted them tremendously. According to, in 2008, the number of foreclosure filings and bank repossession of homes increased by 81% compared to the figures from 2007. Compared to figures from 2006, this number of foreclosure rates increased by an astonishing 225% by the year 2008. Hundreds of Americans lost their homes. Subsequently, as the state of the U.S. economy continued to decline, Americans also lost their employment. Finally, when the investment banks and insurance agencies like AIG filed for bankruptcy, it sent a ripple effect that was felt throughout the globe. Shockingly, while Americans were suffering severely from the economic collapse, the United States legislature bailed the corporations who were knowingly responsible for the devastating effects on the economy without any punishment or accountability. The CEO’s of AIG and investment banks walked out of their positions in the company with their complete monetary gains in their pockets. However, citizens and non-recognized-citizens in the country were left with the repercussions of the collapse and have just now begun to arise from such a blow.

General studies show that educated citizens and workers help stimulate and enhance a nation’s economy. One would think that with the collapse of the United States economy, government officials would prioritize education. Even in a thriving economy, education should be prioritized because of its great benefits to the quality and power it can give to a nation in relation to the world. But, the United States actually spends more on the military industrial complex than in education. Military spending is close $1 trillion dollars per year ( The education budget, in both state and federal levels, is constantly cut due to these and other expenditures. As a result, college graduates leave their colleges and universities with an immense amount of debt. Currently, according to CNNMoney reporter Blake Ellis, the average student debt is near $27,000, a figure that students from the past would have never expected. This debt is projected to only increase in the few years because of high tuition costs. These costs are making it nearly impossible for individuals who come from traditionally discriminated communities to attain higher education because these communities also traditionally belong to those with low socioeconomic status. Even state schools in California, which are meant to be non-profit, have been hit hard by the economic collapse and educational institutions seem to become more privatized by the year.

Clearly, with the injustices and atrocities committed against some of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities within our population, people understood that a cry for help and awareness was needed in the country. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement sprang into action on September of 2011. A specific person or group of leadership does not lead this movement; rather, people from just about every background and belief join in to demand changes regarding our policies and injustices in our society. The reasons for why each individual has joined the movement varies greatly. Therefore, Occupy does not have one main goal but instead has a list of multiple and diverse demands. The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City does an amazing job at listing the complaints and concerns of those involved in the Occupy movement. According to this text, the reasons for the movement include but are not limited to, the bailout of corrupt banks with taxpayer’s money, the continuous bonuses executives receive despite the bankruptcies, the inequality and mistreatment in the workplace, the ridiculously high student debt, “perpetuated colonialism home and abroad”, and the use of military and police force to control the press. In spite of the lack of changes in the United States’ capitalistic and corrupt economy, the Occupy movement has been quite successful in spreading their beliefs and concerns throughout the country and all over the world. Occupy protests and demonstrations take place in New York, Oakland, and even in other countries like Spain. It has become a worldwide revolution. Those who oppose the movement argue that Occupy Wall Street is an unorganized and destructive group of people without a reasonable cause. On the contrary, this movement brings to light the injustices committed by the economic powers that currently control the U.S.’ capitalism society and exploits the people of the country. Raising awareness is an important step towards making change.

It has only been four years since the current recession commenced in the United States. Therefore, the consequences of the economic collapse are still fresh in people’s memories. Some are still recovering from their losses while for others the sad economic aftermath still haunts them every day. On the contrary, the individuals involved in the predatory lending and atrocious scams that left hundreds and thousands of Americans homeless and unemployed walked away as millionaires or billionaires and were never held accountable for their actions. They are free men who received monetary bonuses after driving the corporations they worked for into bankruptcy for their own personal gains. Unfortunately, innocent and vulnerable Americans have been the victimized and affected by these corporations. Occupy Wall Street enables these Americans who have been affected to utilize their constitutional rights to demand change. This movement has risen awareness about the unfairness of economic policies and lack of punishment for those responsible in an international level. Demonstrations around the globe have emerged to fight for even the most fundamental and basic human rights. Movements like this are gravely needed in order to to change policies that have had a devastating effect on hardworking people.


Works Cited

Ellis, Blake. “Average Student Loan Debt Nears $27,000.” Cable News Network, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2012.

Ferguson, Charles. Inside Job. Representational Pictures. 2010. Documentary film.

“Foreclosure Activity Increases 81 Percent In 2008.” Realty Trac., 15 Jan. 2009. Web. 04 Dec. 2012.

NYC General Assembly. N.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

“Occupy Wall Street.” Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2012. 05 Dec. 2012.

“Summary – Inside Job – Condensed Version.” The Global FC Zone. N.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.