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Source: Courses using student evaluation - Webfuse versus Blackboard, David T. Jones, Flickr

Facts are true. They are not opinions but verifiable truths that can be used to support or refute opinions and persuade others to your point of view. In this lesson, we have been using the changes to the school lunch program imposed by the Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. In the previous section, we talked about information obtained by research that could be used to persuade readers that school lunches can be healthy, reasonably priced, and tasty. The different groups affected by the changes to the school lunch program have differing concerns about the changes and will be persuaded by different types of information. Let’s take a look at some of the opinions people have about kids’ nutrition and the facts that support or refute them.




Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic. One child in every four is overweight or obese, and one in three will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. School Lunch Fact sheet (SlowFoodUSA.org)
School lunches don’t offer enough fruits and vegetables. USDA guidelines require ½ cup to 1 cup each of fruit and vegetables a day. “School districts revamp menus, lunch offerings to meet federal standards”
(Corpus Christi Caller.com)
Changing the school lunch program is too expensive. “Schools offering healthier meals saw an average profit of $3.5 million over the three-year study, while those that didn’t had a profit of $2.4 million.” “Study Shows Healthy School Lunches Don’t Cost More” (MySA.com)

As you revise your persuasive essay, you will want to evaluate the facts that you use to support your argument. These facts need to be relevant to the argument that you are making. For example, if the argument is that lunches are not providing enough fruits and vegetables, then you need to provide facts showing that they don't provide enough of these foods. While you may have other facts that support the idea that these lunches are also healthier, these facts are not relevant to the argument about fruits and vegetables.

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Now you will practice choosing the most relevant fact to support the given argument. For each question, click on the most relevant fact.

  1. The school lunch program is important because for some kids the food served by the school is the most nutritious meal they eat all day.

  2. Eighteen million students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
    Try again.
    Lower-income families don’t purchase as many fresh fruits and vegetables or whole grains and tend to buy lower-cost, fattier meats.

  3. Some schools will have to raise their lunch prices because of the new USDA guidelines.

  4. The new guidelines require more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
    Try again.
    Schools in rural New York have fewer local options for fresh fruit and vegetables and will have to raise their prices between 10 and 25 cents per student to cover increased costs.

  5. The new guidelines aren’t raising costs for all schools.

  6. Schools that cut out desserts saved money in a three-year study.
    Try again.
    Studies have shown that by choosing suppliers and buying food more carefully, schools can control costs.

  7. Students need to be taught to make healthy food choices.

  8. Studies show that giving a student a choice between two healthy options such as carrot sticks or celery sticks ensures that they will choose to eat better foods on their own.

    Removing soft drink and candy machines will help students make better nutritional choices.
    Try again.

  9. Students are going to reject the increased whole grain options.

  10. It takes at least five introductions for people to get used to a new food in their diets.
    Try again.
    Research indicates that allowing students to participate in the change of menus by allowing them to taste-test helps cafeterias introduce whole-grain pastas more easily.

Keeping your audience and argument in mind as you revise your data, facts, and ideas will help you choose the best evidence to support your argument and make your essay stronger. Research takes time and effort, but the results are worth it. You will be proud of your accomplishments when you win your readers to your viewpoint, and readers will appreciate that you didn't just throw in facts and data without thinking about how the information impacted your audience or supported your argument. If you take the time to think about your argument and your readers every time, you will be on your way to writing persuasive essays that are not only a reflection of strong writing skills, but are also a compliment to your audience’s reading and thinking skills.