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: Want More College Students to Graduate? Fix the High Schools

Dysfunctional high schools, especially in minority neighborhoods, are the source of severe college-completion disparities.

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NEW: How the Right Approach to Math Can Reduce the Achievement Gap

Trying to be relevant and connecting math problems to current issues can make math more interesting to teach. But, it turns out, much harder for students to learn.

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NEW: The Bipartisan Growth of Homeschooling

Much recent expansion of homeschooling has been with urban, secular families unhappy with both public and private school options.

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NEW: High-Paying Jobs Go Begging While High School Grads Line Up for Bachelor’s Degrees

Skilled job opportunities expand with the economy and many would be better off working now rather than pursuing four-year degrees.

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NEW: How to Change Emotions With a Word: Science Looks at the Subtleties of Semiotics

For debaters, useful look at research on how words engage emotions.

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

JUNE: We Need Everyone at the Immigration Table

At least one-third of voting population seems to want more restrictions on immigration. How best to involve this group with reform proposals?

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JUNE: Alarmism Will Not Prevent Refugee Resettlement in Tennessee

Review of federally-funded but state-managed refugee resettlement programs.

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JUNE: How the Border Patrol Faked Statistics

Border patrol statistics are sometimes misleading. One incident of throwing rocks and bottles was multiplied into reports of 119 assaults.

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JUNE: Interactive Immigration Map

Check projected impact of immigration across U.S. states.

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JUNE: The 5 Best Arguments Against Immigration—and Why They're Wrong

"It’s easier to point to costs at hospitals, public schools and social services. Unseen or harder to see are benefits disbursed across the economy.

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