Saturday, June 16, 2012

Shh! Don't Tell Anyone; High School Students May Learn Some Things That Won't Be On The Test

The National Forensics League has released ten potential Lincoln Douglas debate topics that students will debate during the course of the 2012-2013 school year.  NFL member schools will vote on the topics; five will be chosen for September/October, November/December, January/February, March/April and the NFL National Tournament in June 2013.  Individual Students will have to develop a value based position to write separate cases to affirm and negate the resolution
Lincoln Douglas Topic List for 2012 – 2013
Resolved: The constitutions of democratic governments ought to include procedures for secession.
Resolved: When making admissions decisions, public colleges and universities in the United States ought to favor members of historically disadvantaged groups.
Resolved: United States Supreme Court justices should be subject to term limits.
Resolved: The United States is justified in intervening in the internal political processes of other countries to attempt to stop human rights abuses.
Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory.
Resolved: On balance, the privatization of civil services serves the public interest.
Resolved: On balance, labor unions in the United States are beneficial.
Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens.
Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government.
Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.
Lest the policy debaters accuse me of neglecting the work that some will be starting next week, the the policy resolution for the entire 2012-2013 school year is:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.
Two person teams will develop affirmative containing a plan and negative positions on the topic.

The testing uber alles proponents may not like find these topics to their liking.  After all, it's probably impossible to develop a bubble test to answer these questions.  It's also hard to write a test that allows students both to affirm and negate the questions.

STEM fans like Governor Daugaard and Melody Schopp might take umbrage at the fact that many of the topics can't be answered with the pat answer: "use more technology."

Both the extreme testers and the STEM-will-save-everyone advocates will be hard pressed to explain that these topics won't help students survive in the "real world."  Right now, these bureaucrats probably think that if they ignore the facts high school debate will go away.  Of course, they governors and secretaries of education can do a bit more than hope;they can just pass laws like HB 1234 and the testing regime that comes with it.  If that effort fails, they can just cut education funding again.  In a single party state like South Dakota, the majority can do both without any debate whatsoever.


caheidelberger said...

Secession! That sounds like fun! I'd also get a kick out of labor unions and universal health care... but who let the PF kids write the LD resolutions?

Mike Larson said...

Be careful not to teach socialism, social justice, or anything other than objectivism and capitalism being wonderful or your friendly neighboring congresspeople might accuse you of being a Communist. :-)

LK said...

Cory, I can't answer your question about the PF tone of the resolutions, but it's there.

The Supreme Court one seems like it could easily lead to a policy round.

That being said, Mike's point makes me think we should debate the Supreme Court one. Conservatives fear activist judges but worship original intent. This resolution would mean they'd get to hear both arguments every round. It would protect high school debate from an attack on the right flank.