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High School Debating Topics

Updated on May 21, 2014


What's makes a good high school debating topic?

A good high school debating topic is one which allows students to understand the first principles of arguments. One which helps the debaters to understand that beneath every topic there are underlying principles which apply to nearly every argument.

Good high school debating topics are ones which have two sides and where nuance is possible. A good topic should be able to be debated succsesfully multiple ways. It should encourage students to explore an isue they don't already know a lot about and encourage them to see the world from different perspectives.

That we should remove by force democatically elected leaders who abuse human rights

The reasons this is a good high school debating topic is because it forces students to think critically about preconceived notions of absolute good. It does this by by pitting two seemingly good principles against each other in democracy and human rights.

Questions to be considered:

1. Is democracy an intrinsic good or merely a tool to achieve good?

2. Are there any viable alternatives to Democracy?

3. Are human rights really universal or subjective western principles?

4. How important is sovreinty? unde what conditions might that sovreinty be given up.

5. Is the majority always right?

6. Can an entir population be responsible for human rights abuses

7. Is force ever justified? can it ever prevent more harm than it causes?

8. What system would be put in place if a democratically elected government was removed?

9. What are some problems with a democarcy in a nation divided by along tribal or sectarian lines.

10. Who decides who has violated human rights and from where do they draw that authority

Should we remove democratically elected governments by force?

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That national legislatures should have seats reserved for indigenous representitives

This is a good high school debating topic because it exposes students to issues of indigenous and minority rights in modern society. It challenges them to consider what makes a democracy truly representative and what obligations we have for past injustices.

Questions to be considered:

1. What makes a democracy truly representative? does the status-quo give proper representation to indigenous people?

2. Are reserved seats fair for those who aren't indiginouse?

3. Are there other minorities who could also make a case for reserved seats?

4. Do reserved seats help or hurt the cause of indigenous peoples?

5.Are there any places in the world who have implemented such a system? how well does it work when it is used?

6. Would reserved seats give indigenous peoples a double vote or would they be excluded from their normal electoral district? Does this create problems?

7. What effect might reserved seats have on perceptions of indigenous peoples?

8. How might having indigenous people in legislatures effect of indigenous children see themselves?

9. How might having indigenous candidates effect the way mainstream politicians treat indigenous issues?

10. Do 'new world' counties owe anything to indigenous populations?

Should national legislatures should have seats reserved for indigenous representatives?

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That severely obese children should be removed from their parents

This a good high school debating topic because it allows students to look at the principles of parental rights and responsibilities, state intervention and individual rights. It lets students analyse whether there are degrees of abuse and whether intent is important when considering the welfare of children.

Questions to consider:

1. Does society have a responsibility to stop children from becoming severely obese?

2. Are there other ways to help severely Obese children?

3. Is allowing your child to become severely obese child abuse?

4. Is allowing your child to become severely obese child abuse the same as other forms of abuse?

5. Do parents intend to allow their child to become so unhealthy, does intent matter?

6. Are there other factors which may affect a child's health and weight such as socio-economic status?

7. What are the harms associated with removing a child from its parents?

8. Are any of those harms likely to make the child's health issues even worse?

9. Are thee any other health issues which may warrant a child being removed from their parents?

10. How important are the long term impact of sever childhood obesity on this debate?

Should severly obese children should be removed from their parents?

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That America should abolish the death penalty

this is a good high school debating topic because it exposes students to both effectiveness and morality arguments. The lines of argument in this debate are very clear and distinct from each other. They are "is the death penalty effective" and "is it that moral". A good affirmative team will need to show that the answer to one of those questions is no if it wants to be successful in the debate. The negative team on the other hand will need to defend both questions in order to be successful.

some questions to consider:

1. What is the purpose of the death penalty

2. Who is the death penalty aimed at and how effective will it be at stopping these specific individuals

3. Are there problems with delivering the death penalty? can it be performed humanely?

4. is killing someone ever moral?

5. Are there other circumstances where we think killing is moral? are these comparable?

6. Are there other ways to punish someone?

7. which stakeholders need to be considered when sentencing? how should we prioritize their respective rights?

8. How effective is the American legal system? are mistakes possible and if so should this impact whether or not America has the death penalty?

9. how much does the death of the cost compare it to keeping someone in prison for life? should this have any impact on the debate? effective American prisons? Can it still be argued that the death penalty is necessary for the protection of society.

Should America abolish the death penalty?

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That the voting age should be lowered to 16

This topic is good high school debating topic because it forces students to not only looking to their electoral system that makes them argue something which may not be in their own interests. Most high schoolers wish that they could vote and think it is unfair that adults get to decide everything. This opinion of course changes as they get older but it's healthy to make them think critically about such an issue and consider whether what they think is in their best interests is actually be in society's interests.

some questions to consider:

1. Why was it, but the voting age was lowered to 18? is anything wrong with the current number?

2. Would high school students be able to make an informed judgement when voting?

3. Are most adults able to make informed judgements about politics when voting?

4. Could young people be taken advantage of it they were given the vote?

5. Are the concerns of young people also the concerns of mainstream society?

6. What are the consequences of young people not having a vote and hence not been able to politicians accountable to promises made to young people?

7. Are there other ways you'll people can be involved in the democratic process which don't involve voting?

8. What a low of voting age favor any one one-party or political ideologue? should this be relevant when deciding who to give the right to?

9. What are some practical differences between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old?

10. What are some practical differences between a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old? what justifications could there be to draw a line at 16 and not earlier and could some of the arguments used to lower the voting age 16 also be used to lower it to 14.

Should the voting age should be lowered to 16?

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High school debating topics poll

Which one of the above high school debating topics is the best?

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