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: State Overrules San Francisco School Board, Approves KIPP Charter Elementary School

SF Board of Education voted against new KIPP Charter School, but Board of Education overrode decision. Current "Learning gaps in San Francisco between white and Asian students, who comprise half the student population, and black and Hispanic students remain eye-popping…"

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NEW: Walk Out and Don’t Go Back

Deeply skeptical of schooling… "challenge the increasingly restrictive environment of forced mass schooling that is leading to serious mental health issues for children and adolescents."

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NEW: Why dance is just as important as math in school

Math and science matter in education, plus "the equal importance of dance with the other arts, languages, mathematics, sciences and the humanities in the general education of every child."

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NEW: Controversial 'free-range parenting' is now legal in Utah — here's what that means

Now in Utah children have "the freedom to walk to and from school, wait in parked cars (while their parents run errands in a store, for example), and visit playgrounds solo."

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NEW: DC Graduation Scandal...

"Indeed, the true DCPS graduation rate actually dropped two percentage points since 2011. These findings are a huge blow to a school system that reformers, reporters, and pundits have touted as a poster child for 21st century school reform."

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NEW: We’re Teaching Grit the Wrong Way

Developing “grit” or willpower in students is a challenge. But encouraging students to delay or suppress gratification is apparently the wrong way to do it. Instead developing "feelings like gratitude, compassion, and a sense of pride in one’s ability” better enable self-sacrifice.

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NEW: 3D Printed Tastebugs Challenge Children to Eat Insects

Students should (apparently) be prepped for eating environmentally friendly food sources. So this 3-D printer is designed to get the sustainable nutrition habits started early.

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NEW: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ...

"...charters...such as KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Achievement First, YES Prep and others, provide desperately needed options for parents who can’t afford to spend a fortune buying their way into high-performing suburban districts."

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Public Forum Monthly Topics

APRIL: Council on Foreign Relations Background: U.S. Temporary Foreign Worker Programs

The long complicated history for guest worker programs, from WWI and WWII, to present: “...more than one million visas were granted in 2014, up from some four hundred thousand in 1994. The H1B, H2A, H2B, and H4 visas, the largest of these programs, have been the subject of some of the most heated debate. "

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APRIL: H1B Visa pros and cons from Kialos

"Kialo is an easy to use, yet powerful tool to engage in thoughtful discussion, understand different points of view, and help with collaborative decision-making."

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APRIL: 200 Years of U.S. Immigration, in 1 Colorful Infographic

Ups and downs of U.S. immigration levels, 1829 to present. The big squeeze following Eugenics-basic regulations reduced immigration from 1924 through 1960s.

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APRIL: New Research Says H-1B Visas Created A $431 Million Net Gain For U.S.

"The study estimates that U.S. workers across all sectors on average were better off by about $431 million in 2010 when you take into account the increased productivity and innovation within the tech sector due to foreign workers."

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