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.

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

When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning

A teacher’s quest to discourage his students from mindlessly reciting information.

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Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy

Students and their families are backed into a corner. As students across the United States are handed school-issued laptops and signed up for educational cloud services, the way the educational system treats the privacy of students is undergoing profound changes — often without their parents’ notice or consent, and usually without a real choice to opt out of privacy invading technology.

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The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools

In San Francisco’s public schools, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, is giving middle school principals $100,000 “innovation grants” and encouraging them to behave more like startup founders and less like bureaucrats.

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Poverty to Prosperity through Education and Entrepreneurship

For NSDA debaters transitioning from the China topic to federal K-12 funding and regulatory reform, consider the connection between child labor, education, and income inequality.

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What’s On The Menu For School Lunch Reform Under Trump

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal would cut the U.S. Department of Agriculture by nearly 21 percent. The USDA is responsible for nutrition programs in and out of schools, but how the cuts will play out in school cafeterias isn’t yet known.

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When School Feels Like Prison

A new study shows that campuses with larger populations of students of color are more likely to use harsh surveillance techniques.

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

Sept/Oct 2017 Public Forum: North and South Korea and Anti-Missile System

Resolved: Deployment of anti-missile systems is in South Korea’s best interest.

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Without Electoral College, Campaigns Would Shift

For the April Public Forum topic students can research the history, politics, and incentives created by the Electoral College system. The U.S. was founded as a republic and the Electoral College helped small states maintain influence. Without an Electoral College, few Presidential candidates would bother making multiple trips to Iowa and New Hampshire each election cycle.

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Keep the Electoral College!

Should the Electoral College be abolished? Last year’s presidential election raised the question once again but it also answered it with an emphatic NO. The Framers of the Constitution knew precisely what they were doing when they established the system for electing presidents, which is more than anyone can say about the people who spent weeks last fall counting those celebrated “dimples” and “pregnant chads” in Florida.

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