When searching for sophisticated, one-page essays for high school students, one of my go-to editorialists is Mark Bittman. He writes about food politics, centered on our country’s problems with obesity, for the New York Times. Students work well with his pieces since they are about concepts that they can relate to: it's about their daily lunch choices! Will they opt for a taco made with fresh ingredients, or cold cuts with a bag of chips?
Bittman’s warnings against processed food make for engaging reading. The critical reading challenge is in pinpointing how the structure of his essays change from analysis to argument. After that scrutiny, there is the vocabulary challenge in his use of scientific jargon and higher-level words. “Glycemic index”, anyone?
For a sample of Bittman's writing, check out: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/which-diet-works/?ref=opinion
While there are countless Op-Eds about the fiscal cliff and the second amendment in the media today, reading about food is a lighter endeavor. And why not discuss Bittman to answer one of those generic SAT essay questions about the government's role in the lives of its citizens?