There may have been a buzz at your house yesterday as the 2020-2021 debate resolution topic choices for voting were released. Maybe there’s already a lively debate about which topics your family will vote for? Maybe everyone simply agreed or maybe no one even noticed or cared? Whatever your situation, read on. Our newsletter focus over the next few weeks will provide you with background and thoughts on why it’s so important for parents, coaches, and students to be engaged at this point in the process.
First, a practical bit about the resolution topic selection process.
NCFCA’s Debate Resolution Committee, led by the Debate Committee Chairman, is tasked with compiling and evaluating suggestions submitted by students, parents, and coaches. A database of topic suggestions is maintained and carried forward to subsequent years for reassessment. This year’s committee of seven, highly qualified and experienced coaches and debaters, were looking for options with these considerations in mind:
- Relevance – Well-chosen topics should be current enough to provide interest and support, but not so current that the debates are driven by the latest headline. “Hot” topics leave debaters scurrying for the newest information but rarely getting to the root of the real issues at hand.
- Breadth – A well-sized resolution allows for development of a broad knowledge base with a large enough number of key areas of focus or conflict to sustain good debate for 4-6 months but without being so broad that debaters never have the opportunity to dig deep into the key issues
- Supportability– Good resolutions require that there is a sufficient volume of applicable, current, and appropriate research available to develop good argumentation on both sides of the resolution
- Variety – NCFCA’s eligibility rules give students the opportunity to participate for as many as six competitive seasons. The committee considers what has been put forth for voting, as well as what has been debated in the last few years as they narrow the choices for the upcoming season. This ensures that students who compete multiple years have the opportunity to engage with several topics that contribute to an overall picture of the world around them. On the policy side, NCFCA has chosen to alternate domestic and international topic years to further increase an understanding of the issues facing our world today.
- Compatibility – NCFCA’s mission is staked firmly on God’s truth and preparing students to approach all issues from a biblical worldview. As such, our debate topics must align with that mind set and provide an opportunity to argue both affirmative and negative in good conscience. Finally, despite the fact that all topics have potential pitfalls or areas of content concern, we are careful to evaluate the prevalence of explicit material associated with the topical issues.
Once the committee’s research and deliberation are complete, the proposed list of topics is submitted to the Executive Director for review and final approval by the Board of Directors.
Up next: Now what? Making a good decision about debate for your family in the coming season…