Seventy-six delegates from 29 states, the National Speech and Debate Association, the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the National Catholic Forensic League and the National Debate Coaches Association attended the NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection Meeting December 28-29 via a virtual format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven topic reports were presented by authors who, for the past 11+ months, researched each topic area.
State delegates and participants deliberated for two days to determine the final five topic areas: Election Law, Nation State Recognition, Pakistan, Russia, and Water Resources.
Serving on the 2020 Wording Committee were: Darin Maier, Mississippi (Chairperson); Grace Gill, South Dakota; Chris Lowery, Indiana; Nicole Cornish, Texas; Dustin Rimmey, Kansas; Jennifer LeSieur, Oregon; and Colton Gilbert, Arkansas.
Balloting for the 2021-22 national high school debate topic will take place in a truncated, two-fold process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coaches and students will have the opportunity to discuss the five selected problem areas in early January. The first ballot will narrow the topics to two. A second ballot will be distributed to determine the final topic. Each state, the NSDA, the NAUDL, NCFL and the NDCA will conduct voting in January to determine the favored topic area. On January 19th, the NFHS will announce the 2021-22 national high school debate topic and resolution. It will be posted on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org and sent to state associations and affiliate members.
PROBLEM AREA I: ELECTION LAW
Resolved: The Supreme Court of the United States should issue an opinion that substantially changes interpretation of federal election law.
PROBLEM AREA II: NATION STATE RECOGNITION
Resolved: The United States federal government should grant state recognition to the Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Kurdistan, the Republic of Lakotah, the Republic of Somaliland, the Republic of South Ossetia-the State of Alania, the State of Palestine, and/or Taiwan.
PROBLEM AREA III: PAKISTAN
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
PROBLEM AREA IV: RUSSIA
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its diplomatic engagement with the Russian Federation regarding one or more of the following: arms control, the Arctic, cybersecurity, human rights.
PROBLEM AREA V: WATER RESOURCES
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States.
Kyle Mills is the Manager of Performing Arts and Sports at the NFHS. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a master’s degree in sport administration from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Prior to the NFHS, he worked in a variety of roles with the Indiana Pacers, FOX17 and the Prep Hoops Network helping high school student participants connect with college coaches. He loves providing resources to state administrators to better equip teachers and students.