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: Disrupting the World of Private School With Tech and Guinea Pigs

New for-profit NYC education alternatives: "The schools range in philosophy from traditional to progressive, but in general, they change slowly, if at all… Now, a rash of start-ups say they can offer more 21st-century alternatives — and make a profit in the process.”

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NEW: A School Once Known For Gang Activity Is Now Sending Kids To College

Reforms for low-income school "...built around a skills-based model that prioritizes student mastery, extensive community outreach... The results have been dramatic.”

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NEW: YouthBuild Offers At-Risk Teens A Chance At A Bright Future

Program for troubled youth looks to work-related projects: "Not only do participants learn math and reading skills during the nine-month program, but they also get the opportunity to learn about work ethic, financial literacy, and leadership skills.”

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NEW: Education’s Future: What Will Replace K-12 and College?

From Psychology Today blog, this article deeply critical of traditional classroom education. "Research shows that for far less expense, and with joy rather than pain, we can facilitate, rather than suppress, children’s and teens’ natural ways of educating themselves with excellent results.”

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NEW: TEDx Talk: The Most Important Lesson From 83,000 Brain Scans: Daniel Amen

For students with behavior problems (and relevant for school football). It's throwing darts in the dark to medicate students without looking at their brains. Brain function can often (sometimes?) be restored through treatment and exercise.

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NEW: Finland Will Become the First Country In The World To Get Rid Of All School Subjects

Traditional school is out in Finland: "Department of Education in Helsinki, Marjo Kyllonen...believes that the way children are taught now is based of a style that was a benefit to students in the beginnings of the 1900s, but now is no longer relevant and beneficial to our modernised way of learning.”

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

PF Dec 2017 - NCAA Athletes As Employees — Introduction

Resolved: NCAA student athletes ought to be recognized as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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End College Sports Indentured Servitude: Pay “Student Athletes”

Most of college sports are traditional games and competitions, but college football and men’s basketball have grown into commercial enterprises. It makes sense to pay players in these profitable college enterprises.

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Pay College Athletes? They're Already Paid Up To $125,000 Per Year

Complexity in figuring out how to value NCAA athletes in considering payment, but also important to consider the value of tuition, training, and other services athletes currently receive: "Colleges are already compensating their student athletes with tuition, room, board, coaching, nutritional support, and physical trainers that can exceed $100,000 per year in value.”

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Want To Clean Up College Athletics? Pay The Players

FBI investigation finds lots of money changing hands in college basketball: "The inquiry, which led to the arrests of 10 people last week connected to the world of college basketball, identified Louisville as having paid $100,000 to Brian Bowen, an incoming recruit.”

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NCAA Tax Subsidies Are the Real 'March Madness'

In addition to saving money by not paying athletes (beyond tuition and training costs), NCAA receives various government subsidies justified by claims of boosting local income where final four games are played.

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Economists Recommend Paying College Athletes

College athletes should be paid when their work (play?) generates significant revenue for college. Research study say transition to market payments will be hard, but "write that the practice of setting a binding limit on remuneration for student-athletes – grant-in-aid restricted to room, board, tuition, fees, and books – may violate the Sherman Antitrust Act."

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College Football Players, Not Coaches, Deserve to Be Paid

NCAA football and men’s basketball generate major revenues, and since it can’t be paid to players, funds instead go to coaches. And college athletes sometimes suffer career-ending injuries: "In a normal labor market, employees who take on risks are compensated for it. But the list of NCAA football players who suffer debilitating injuries keeps growing.”

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