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: 2018-2019 Policy Debate Topic Announced

“Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.” Watch for new articles here!

NEW: The Mastery Transcript Consortium

Transcripts should “assess student progress and performance.” So benefits expected from common transcript standards by “high schools organized around the development and dissemination of an alternative model of assessment, crediting and transcript generation.”

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NEW: Learning to code will eventually be as useful as learning Ancient Greek

Who says learning ancient Greek isn’t valuable? All educated people learned Greek, but that was many centuries ago. The article argues that AI systems will soon handle most day to day coding. Analytic skills will matter more than knowing the language of computers.

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NEW: Entrepreneurship in K-12 Education

Students will step out of school, high school or college, into a dynamic economy in constant transformation. How best to give students insights and experiences in entrepreneurship? “The entrepreneurial spirit is about owning your ideas and doing, interesting, powerful things with them.”

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NEW: Here's Where the GOP Tax Bill Could Hit School Funding the Hardest

Federal tax reform will have impact on school funding especially in high-tax states. An overview.

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NEW: Do High School Sports Build or Reveal Character?

Empirical research tries to measure influence of high school sports on later careers and other "later-life outcomes.”

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NEW: To Recruit Workers, Manufacturers Go to Parents’ Nights

New kind of parents night. Factories invite parents to pitch career options and benefits of manufacturing jobs.

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NEW: How a Japanese Magician Is Turning School Into Project-Based Summer Camps

Innovative Japanese firm looks to stir education energy: “The company, which has traditionally focused on short summer camps, will use the cash to help fund an expansion into a series of international learning centers that will run year round.”

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

What Is a Nation in the 21st Century?

Life is complicated and so are nations. This essay reviews the run-up to Catalonia, from former Yugoslavia and Kurdish Iraq, to Scottish independence being voted down.

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Catalonia a Nation or Barcelona a City-State? (Economic Thinking post)

In history class students tend to learn (and maybe memorize) the many countries of Europe. But many European (and African) states are relatively recent inventions.

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Catalan Independence And The Revival Of City-States

Barcelona and surrounding region is major part of Spanish economy. And Catalonia has long history with its own language and culture.

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The Great Secession

From 2012, a look at movement for Texas independence, noting: "Bigger is not always better. Europe is discovering that reality, as opposition rises to continuing efforts to shift more power to the European Union and Brussels, and secessionist sentiments grow in Belgium’s Flanders, Spain’s Catalonia, and Great Britain’s Scotland.”

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Clip from the French movie “The Spanish Apartment” (L'auberge Espagnole)

French subtitles, guy comes up to students talking and asks a question in Spanish. But he’s in Barcelona and gets no answer. Next is classroom where professor begins lecture that the many foreign students can’t understand. They all speak Spanish, but not Catalan.

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