The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.
Pro, or con? The 2011-2012 national high-school policy debate topic – space – was chosen via balloting conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The topic lends itself to lively discussion, particularly in the wake of this summer’s final voyage of the U.S. space shuttle program and in the uncertain condition of the U.S. economy.
As the new school year approaches, so does a renewed focus on critical-thinking skills, information literacy and other hallmarks of 21st century learning. Debate training helps young adults develop their talent for assessing information and making informed conclusions – then lets them express their reasoning in a forum that feeds into many kids’ spirit of competition.
“I respectfully disagree”
Debate fosters skills in reading and writing. And it teaches consideration for all points of view – something many people tend to forget in an Internet environment, where anonymity encourages bloggers and commenters to forego respectful discussion for name-calling and insult.
And as the 2012 presidential campaigns heat up – with their inevitable candidates’ debates – look at debate’s historical cred:
Look at Socrates, who was put to death in 399 BCE for corrupting the youth of Athens; his accusers couldn’t forgive him for incessantly questioning their beliefs and making “the worse appear the better cause.” Abraham Lincoln went head to head with Stephen Douglas in the Illinois senatorial race of 1858; those debates catapulted Lincoln into the presidency.
Support for debating topics is available at the Virtual Library.
A range of eBooks from Gale Virtual Reference Library delivers reliable facts on timely topics like energy policy, environmental regulations, Supreme Court rulings, American policy in China, and more.
National high school policy debate topic resources:
- History in Dispute
- Opposing Viewpoints Pro and Con
- Pro and Con Leading Issues
- Science in Context
- CQ Researcher
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Environmental Issues: Essential Primary Sources
- Scientific Thought: In Context
- Environmental Science: In Context
- Supreme Court Drama: Cases That Changed America
Some content provided by Re:sources Erin Sullivan, Product Manager for Gale Virtual Reference Library of Galecengage.