High School Debate 2017/2018

Welcome, high school debaters and coaches! By participating in forensics, you are upholding one of our nation’s oldest and most cherished traditions – the right to free speech in a free society. When we debate with vigor and skill, we let the best ideas rise to the top for the benefit of our nation and world. Our goal is to help you pursue that goal by providing resources to help you become better debaters and also to help you explore the topics that are included in the 2017/2018 Public Forum and Policy Debate seasons. We are pleased to be working with longtime expert and debate coach Greg Rehmke of Economic Thinking.

Also, please be sure to check out the FREE online workshop below, offered to you at no charge due to a generous donor to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact Lorie Shane at the Mackinac Center at 989-698-1909 or shane@mackinac.org.

🎉 Fresh material is added weekly, so check back often!

Interested in FREE Debate Training?

Economics in a Cloud is hosting an online workshop covering this year’s federal education policy debate. Led by Gregory F. Rehmke, this workshop includes free articles, video and book recommendations, plus live Skype sessions with Greg.

To access this at no charge (a $15 value!), use this code: MCPP2018 Click here to register for a FREE online debate workshop with additional resources

Gregory F. Rehmke, a Mackinac Center Board of Scholars member, is editor of www.EconomicThinking.org and program director for Economic Thinking. He has directed high school speech and debate programs since the 1980s. Rehmke has directed educational programs at the Free Enterprise Institute, The Reason Foundation and the Foundation for Economic Education.

This is the fifth video in Gregory Rehmke's series. It's also available in PDF format.

How to be a Better Debater

How to Improve Fluency and Clarity in Speaking

I’ve developed a list of 5 ways you can improve your speaking. This post will focus on both impromptu skills and general ways to improve your eloquence and rhetoric. For those of you who are still debating... It’s a great time to work on your speaking, something that you will take with you far beyond the time you will spend debating in high school or college.

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Hearts Over Minds #2: The Fairness Debate

In my last post, we covered that in order to be effective communicators, not only must we cater to the audience’s mind, but to the audience’s heart. Let’s apply this to a specific example: fairness. In short, not only must you win the flow, you must win on “fairness.”

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Start with Why

You may be wondering why it’s so important to establish true positions on seemingly trivial arguments. And yes, these arguments might not matter after you end your last debate round in high school or college. However, for current debaters, learning the foundational truths behind these arguments make you a more logical and therefore more persuasive debater.

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Manners Maketh the Man

Aristotle proposed that there are three components of effective persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Ethos is arguably the most essential, emphasizing the importance of persuasion through character. According to Aristotle, “We believe fair minded people to a greater extent and more quickly than we do others.” There are, in turn, three elements that make up Ethos: good sense, good character, and goodwill. Many debaters get hung up on the first one—they want to appear credible and confident—but they shortchange the character part. According to Aristotle’s idea of ‘good character’ (arete), you need to cultivate virtues in yourself that will then be manifested in your interactions with other people.

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Why You Should Debate in the NSDA

As a four-year competitor in the NSDA, I’d like to inform you about the league, highlight what I feel are its high and low points, and encourage those who’d like to compete in another league that doing so will greatly benefit their public speaking and prepare them for the “real-world.”

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Policy Debate Topic

NEW: Charter Schools Are Losing the Narrative But Winning the Data

Charter success in cities but not so much in suburbs. Results vary between states. Key is to close down low-performing charter schools.

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NEW: Doing More With Less: The Charter School Advantage in Michigan

Charter schools in Michigan provide more educational gains at lower cost than comparable public schools.

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NEW: Online courses don't work, but education can still be disrupted

Speech and debate competition fits the bill: "the most valuable skills are critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity. However, they are not gained solely through academia, but through experiential forms of learning.”

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NEW: Detroit charter schools debate gets intense at Gesu Catholic Church

Debate on charter school competition with Catholic schools in attracting Detroit area students.

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NEW: Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Low income students can learn business skills, achieve educational goals, and earn income with NFTE’s combination of student programs with exceptional teacher training and support.

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NEW: The Philly school choice system no one is talking about

Parents choose: "Philly has long operated its own internal school choice system. If a school has open seats, parents from outside the area can line up to take them.”

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NEW: Two-plus hours on a school bus: How a Chester charter taps Philly kids to grow

From just 45 students in 2014-2015, to over 1,000 student this year travel from Philadelphia to four-campus charter school in Delaware County.

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NEW: Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Promising Approach—But 'Evidence-Based'?

“Culturally responsive teaching” is popular school policy, but so far has little empirical evidence to support it’s value to students.

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

NEW: What You Need To Know About Capital Gains And Taxes

Valuable introduction to investment type, and impact of taxes on equity investment gains.

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NEW: Capital Gains: Tax Debate 2017

Tax reform proposals are complicated. Capital gains taxes even more complicated.

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NEW: Index capital gains for inflation, Mr. President

Due to inflation, much of the gains to investors, that they pay capital gains taxes on, are an illusion. Inflation reduces the value of each dollar making it look that stock prices have gained a lot, and capital gains taxes pretend not to notice.

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NEW: Coolidge Debate League Inaugural Tournament

New debate league from Coolidge Foundation and Thales Academy with capital gains tax topic for February 17 tournament.

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What Is a Nation in the 21st Century?

"The challenge to the existing idea of nationhood began with the end of Communism. It expanded when Western nations began to fissure following the financial crash of 2008.”

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Catalonia’s Crisis Is Just Getting Started

Recent history leading up to Catalonia independence movement.

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