I have to laugh at this piece I wrote when I was 17, in response to a gov't review of Grade 12 English students, back in 1992. We were asked to compose a piece of writing so the gov't could see how well students were performing. The assignment was: "Explain an issue or problem related to the environment. The issue or problem may be local, national, or global. After you have explained the issue or problem, describe the action that is being taken to deal with it to someone who may be uninformed or not very well informed about the problem."
They asked for it. And yes, this is actually what I submitted.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to express my concern over the disgusting misuse of paper and other resources in this provincial writing review. Paper, a product of the endangered tree, is being wasted in vast amounts for this review. As I understand it, at least 150,000 students are taking part in this review, where each student receives about 100 sheets of paper, if not more, to complete the review. Also, the writing folder which each student receives, has a glossy finish on it, making it impossible to recycle. Considering that it takes 17 trees to make one ton of paper, it is safe to say that a substantial amount of forest is needed to produce enough paper to meet the needs of the students taking part in this review. Also, consider the energy used to produce this paper as well as the water systems that are polluted through waste products of the wood pulp bleaching process.
In addition, there will be great amounts of energy used when your computer systems work overtime to compile and interpret the data recorded on the computer cards during the review. This energy comes from a virtually non-renewable source and is thus being misused.
Perhaps, if you really wanted to know how well Grade 12 students are writing and how effective the program is, members of your Ministry could actually be sent in to a sampling of Ontario schools and see education in action. A forced, extremely monitored and limiting writing assignment is NOT a good representation of a student's writing. If you could see us in the process of writing, writing what we like to write, you would get a clearer view of our abilities. In this way, you might get a more accurate assessment of Grade 12 students' writing abilities as well as preserve natural resources, which may not even exist for future students if the present trends continue.
After all, your theme for this review is "The Environment", so you should be setting the example in being environmentally friendly.