This page archives past and active debate topics, and includes links to resources on the World Wide Web for successful and challenging middle school debate topics. If you are looking for information on topics that will be debated at tournaments this month, look at our "upcoming topics " page. This page contains research links to information about the following topics:
This site provides very specific and detailed arguments for why art subsidies should be eliminated. The site additionally explains why the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) should be privatized.
This article entitled, "The Separation of Art and State" provides a variety or arguments for the proposition. The author bases most of his arguments on constitutional and legal reasoning. Furthermore, the author points to historical examples and the intent of the founding fathers to explain his arguments.
Close Camp Delta http://www.alternet.org/rights/22185/ Michael Posner, the executive director of Human Rights First, argues for closing the prison at Guantanamo. The article is mainly useful for the proposition side. The author argues that closing the prison would reduce torture by the United States and other countries.
In this case, Grand Theft Auto is more responsible than Devin Moore for the crime.
This last topic deals with a specific case featured on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. A link the story is here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml . The story, "Can a video game lead to murder?" is about a lawsuit charging that too much time playing Grand Theft Auto led Devin Moore to kill several police officers in Alabama. The issue for the debate is whether or not this lawsuit is correct in alleging that the game is more responsible than Devin Moore.
- But Still Short-Changed"
http://www.sadker.org/eq-sep.htm An interesting article, originally published in the Washington Post, that explores the need to further study the costs and benefits of separating girls and boys in the classroom. The authors believe that single-sex instruction can be valuable but also dangerous. Arguments for both sides are in this article.
United States and the Kyoto Treaty" http://www-pub.naz.edu:9000/~nanatoli/ This
site outlines some of the reasons the United States has not ratified the
Kyoto Protocol. Specifically, it argues that the U.S. refuses to sign the treaty because developing countries have refused to participate. The
site also provides a list of alternatives that can solve for emissions reduction
better than Kyoto.
"Kyoto Protocol FAQs" (CBS) http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/kyoto/ This
article provides detailed answers to many frequently asked questions about
the Kyoto Protocol. Specifically, it discusses what the accord entails and what happens if countries do not comply. It
also discusses the debate over climate change and discusses what factors
are likely causing global warming.
About Zoos http://www.goodzoos.com/about.htm This website contains useful information for the opposition. This article
serves as an introduction. If you go to the bottom of the page, there
are also links to articles about how zoos help conservation, research,
and recreation. There is also an article about whether zoos are cruel.
The Facts About Zoos http://www.advocatesforanimals.org.uk/resources/captive/zoos.html This site is most helpful for the proposition. The site provides background
information about the about the conservation of endangered species, alternative
ways for children to learn about animals (other than visiting zoos),
and facts about how often zoos release animals into the wild.
Endangered Species http://www.endangeredspecie.com/ This site is useful for both the proposition and the opposition. It provides
information about the causes of endangerment, reasons to save endangered
species, laws that protect endangered species, and more. This site is
a good resource for background information on the topic.
Medical testing on animals does more good than harm.
"Animals in scientific research" http://www.navs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ain_sci_medicalresearch This article is from the National Anti-Vivisection Society, an organization
devoted to ending experimentation on animals.
It will be useful to the opposition. There are some tough scientific concepts in the article,
but most students should be able to figure them out. If you have trouble understanding what
parts of the article mean, ask a science teacher at your school. For information about
drug testing, follow the link on the left side of the page.
used in experimentation FAQ" http://www.peta.org/about/faq-viv.asp This article is from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an
organization that opposes animal testing.
It will be helpful for the opposition side of this motion. There is a lot of
useful information on this website; however, you should be aware that some of
the videos contained on the site may be disturbing.
and Facts" http://www.rds-online.org.uk/pages/page.asp?i_ToolbarID=2&i_PageID=48 This website is run by RDS (an organization in the United Kingdom) that advocates
for the use of animal testing and experimentation in medical research. The site will be
very helpful to the proposition side, as there are multiple pages with information and
examples. Using the navigation bar at the top of the site, you can look at "animal
"medical" benefits," "animal welfare," "hot topics," and more.
benefits of animal research" http://www.simr.org.uk/pages/research/ This website will be helpful to the proposition side. The organization Seriously
Ill for Medical Research advocates for animal experimentation. This page gives
examples of diseases for which animal testing is helpful for research and treatment.
Follow the links at the bottom of the page to get examples for different diseases.
The French government should permit students to wear visible religious symbols
in state schools.
This is a two-page account of the history of World War II leading up to Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan. It provides excellent history and concludes that the bombing was probably not justified. Thus, it is primarily helpful for the opposition. For an easier version, try this web site: http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/Lesson_95_Notes.htm.
This page is an excerpt from the magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . On the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the magazine asked several authors to say if they would have dropped the bomb. If you scroll down the page, you will see links to three essays that take different positions on the topic. This page will be helpful for both sides.
This Web page is from the Truman Presidential Museum and Library. It will be helpful to both sides, as there is an introduction to the decision to drop the bomb as well as a copy of Truman's press release on the decision. Afterwards, there are some discussion questions that may help you shape your arguments about the topic.
The PBS documentary series Frontline aired a documentary on Wal-Mart in November 2004. On this Web site, you can watch the documentary (with a high-speed connection), read the transcript, and read interviews with experts attempting to address this topic directly. This site will help debaters prepare for both sides of the topic, and contains a lot of helpful resources.
Wal-Mart is Good for America
This article, by Bruce Bartlett of the National Center for Policy Analysis, is a criticism of the Frontline documentary listed above. It will be helpful for the proposition side. There are a few terms and concepts that may be hard to understand in the article, but it is useful as a criticism of the views presented in the Frontline Web site.
Wake Up Wal-Mart: The Real Wal-Mart Facts
This site is maintained by the group Wake Up Wal-Mart, an activist group working to change Wal-Mart. This page will be helpful to the opposition side, as it contains many facts and arguments about Wal-Mart's practices.
This article is the transcript of a story that aired on ABC News last year. It will be helpful for both sides, but primarily for the proposition side. The authors interview several guests who argue for the benefits of the low prices that Wal-Mart offers to consumers.
Algebra should not be required for high school graduation.
In the case of student lockers, school safety
is more important than student privacy.
Surveillance in Schools: Safety vs. Personal
This website will help both sides. It explores the locker issue
and offers a plan for ‘smart lockers’. The proposition
team should also pay attention to the information about the legality
of lockers and school safety statistics.
The No Child Left Behind Act has done more good than
No Child Left Behind’s Impotence on the Achievement Gap
This is an article that does an analaysis of a New York Times article giving evidence that the NCLB does not succeed. An opposition team should use this and look at the Times article that is linked in the article.
US Department of Education site on No Child Left Behind
This is a great site for the creation of a proposition case with lots of statistics, including how NCLB is affecting students in each individual state.
Only the bathwater—or the baby too
This is a study of how the No Child Left Behind does not work for all states, and that a national education reform needs to be smaller. This would be a good argument for the opposition team
Alternative Fuel Data Center
This comes from the department of energy. It has a lot of great facts on alternative energy that can be used for the creation of a proposition case.
Single sex schools are better for students than co-ed schools in grades K-12.
“K-12 Single-Sex Education: What Does the Research Say?” http://www.ericdigests.org/2001-2/sex.html
This provides good data that shows the beneficial affects of single sex education on girls. This could be used by the proposition team.
Is Single Gender Schooling Viable in the Public Sector? http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/depts/tps/adatnow/final.pdf This is an excellent resource for the opposition team. This a report that shows that single sex education in a California pilot program hurts gender identity and could not work as a public policy.
“Military Commissions Act shames the Constitution and weakens America”
This article is written by the president of the ACLU of Southern California. This argument focuses on the domestic aspects of the MCA, and would be useful for the proposition to talk about the Constitution or to talk about how the MCA would affect war crimes trials for US soldiers.
Why keep the electoral college? http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa102200a.htm
This is a U.S. government site that provides several reasons for maintaining the electoral college. An opposition team could use the historical arguments to explain that the current system is key to democracy.
Electoral benefits misunderstood
This article is from a professor of law at UCLA. She makes several less popular but still powerful arguments that the opposition team can use to explain the benefits of the electoral college.
Why Change U.S. Policy Toward Cuba? http://www.cubafoundation.org/why-2.html This page is a summary of arguments that will help the proposition side. The site is maintained by the Cuba Policy Foundation, an organization that advocates for lifting the Cuban embargo.
Summer Matters http://www.summermatters.com/
This website, from people who are opposed to year-round school, will be helpful for the opposition side. It contains a variety of links, arguments, and articles.
National Association for Year-Round Learning http://www.nayre.org/
This website will help the proposition side prepare. It is maintained by an organization that advocates for year-round schooling.
Hugo Chavez is not a friend to the United States.
“Chavez: Castro’s mini-me” http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed040505a.cfm
This article explains that Chavez is a direct threat to the United States. The article highlights Chavez’s increase in creating Venezuela into a military power, is giving weapons to anti-Government drug selling armies, and uses the nation’s supply of oil as a way to attack the U.S. Government. The proposition could use this article to make several independent arguments how Chavez is actively trying to limit the authority and power of the United States.
“Chavez pushes Petro-Diplomacy” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/21/AR2005112101800.html
This is an article for the opposition side. This article highlights that Chavez gave oil to poor income families in the United States, in states where citizens where having trouble paying increasingly winter heat bills. Chavez was the only individual to offer free oil to these communities. This could be used to generate the argument that Chavez is more of a friend to the United States then many U.S. run corporations, which gave no oil.
“Progressive interview with Hugo Chavez” http://www.progressive.org/mag_intv0706
Either team could use this argument. The opposition could use this article to make the point that Chavez wants to give the United States cheap oil which we need for numerous reasons, like continued economic expansion, which is important for the United States to prosper. The proposition team could use this article to say that Chavez wants to get the United States addicted to foreign oil, which is terrible because it makes the United States dependent on another nation for energy.
“Chavez cast himself as anti-Bush” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35193-2005Mar14.html
This is an article that could be used for the proposition team. The article explains that Hugo Chavez is trying to influence Latin American countries to create an anti-American alliance. The article also states that Chavez will try and use oil to influence American politics within the country and to limit American foreign policy.
“Signs of hope in American-Venezuela ties” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6181785.stm
This is a news article from the middle of December 2006 that the opposition team could use. It states that the United States and Venezuela have started to negotiate and have consultation and cooperation. The article also states that the United States and Venezuela have moved away from their hostility toward new cooperation