Glenn Reynolds has a long post and a response from a teacher arguing that high school English should much be more focused on writing persuasive arguments. I can't say I disagree. I'm someone who loves literature and fiction and reads (and writes) a lot of it, but being able to present and defend a position is a much more valuable skill, and so long as we remember that a teacher can't teach everything and teaching priorities need to be made, then we should admit that writing argumentative essays should be a much higher priority. If there's one really important thing that a person can get out of philosophy, it's learning about the history of philosophical arguments for various ideas, more so than the ideas themselves.
Constructing an Argument