BuddyRoo- I have to take exception to the idea that "standards are so damn low", at least in my state and district. Our standards are very high, especially for a public school, I think. A 'D' grade must be 65%, below that is an 'F', but that is just the tip of the iceberg. We use the Common Core and work very, very hard to educate every kid, from brilliant to brain damaged. I'm not saying an 8th grader couldn't write this, and in fact, I have graded several so far that are actually superior to this stilted, slightly off-topic paper. This child just hasn't shown me anything remotely this sophisticated, and I doubt she was at all "fired up" about this topic. It just rings false to me. I love researching, and our major project is just about to begin in 8th grade English--a career research paper and PowerPoint presentation. She/he will have another opportunity to sparkle very soon