Nationals Topics

The following topic areas were discussed during the 2017 National Speech & Debate Tournament. Visit our Nationals page learn more about this prestigious event held in Birmingham, Alabama, this June.

High School Topics

Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
 

Public Forum Debate

TOPIC AREA: Africa
Resolved: In East Africa, the United States federal government should prioritize its counterterrorism efforts over its humanitarian assistance.
(A total of 258 schools and 470 students voted for the resolution. The winning resolution received 67% of the school vote and 67% of the student vote.)
 

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: A just government ought to prioritize civil liberties over national security.
 

High School Congressional Debate

Download the 2017 high school docket containing preliminary, semifinal, and final legislation.
 

Big Questions

Resolved: Science leaves no room for free will.
 

World Schools Debate Motions

(listed in round order – impromptu motions published after the tournament)
 
Prelims:

  • Round 1: This House regrets the rise of alternative media.
  • Round 2: This House supports compulsory climate science education in secondary schools.
  • Round 3: (Impromptu Motion) This House would automatically indict police officers implicated in the deaths of unarmed civilians.
  • Round 4: This House would increase sanctions on Russia.
  • Round 5: (Impromptu Motion) This House believes governments should support paid parental leave. 
  • Round 6: (Impromptu Motion) This House would ban medically non-essential, cosmetic plastic surgery.

Elims:

  • Double Octafinals: This House believes that the commercialization of feminism has been detrimental to the movement.
  • Octafinals: (Impromptu Motion) This House would not commemorate war.
  • Quarterfinals: (Impromptu Motion) This House believes governments should hold individual executives personally liable for company-wide misconduct rather than prosecuting the corporations themselves.
  • Semifinals: (Impromptu Motion) This House believes the benefits of intentionally disclosing secret government information outweigh the harms.
  • Finals: This House regrets the rise of global populism.

 

International Extemp Topic Areas

(listed in round order)

  • Round 1: Africa
  • Round 2: The Americas
  • Round 3: Western Europe
  • Round 4: East Asia and Pacific
  • Round 5: International Rights and Organizations
  • Round 6: Global Energy and Environment
  • Round 7: U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Round 8: Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia
  • Round 9: The Middle East
  • Round 10: Pakistan, India, and Southeast Asia
  • Round 11: International Economics
  • Round 12: Conflict: Politics by Other Means (Note: this topic area will cover civil wars, geopolitical faultlines, the future of nuclear weapons, the impact of science and technology on violent conflict, etc.)
  • Finals: The World Next Week

 

United States Extemp Topic Areas

(listed in round order)

  • Round 1: Education in the United States
  • Round 2: Government and Politics
  • Round 3: U.S. Economics and Business
  • Round 4: Technology and the Environment
  • Round 5: President Trump’s First Year
  • Round 6: Social Issues and Entitlements
  • Round 7: Healthcare
  • Round 8: U.S. Immigration Policy
  • Round 9: Legal Issues and the Courts
  • Round 10: American Foreign Policy
  • Round 11: Military, Defense, and National Security
  • Round 12: Journalism and the Mass Media
  • Finals: The U.S. Next Week

 

Extemp Commentary Topic Areas

(listed in round order)

  • Round 1: This Time Last Year
  • Example: Prince – April 21, 2016
     
  • Round 2: Leaders’ Virtual Messages
  • Example: Leonardo DiCaprio – April 10: Join me in advancing #EnviroLiteracy in CA, a great model for every state.
     
  • Round 3: The Not Too Serious News
  • Example: Coachella is important!
     
  • Round 4: A “Rye” Sense of Humor
  • Example: The Queen of England: Bigger than England or Bigger than Queen?
     
  • Round 5: Those Who Don’t Learn From History…
  • Example: IBM still thinks it’s 1979
     
  • Round 6: The Moot Points We Raised in 2017
  • Example: Immigration?
     
  • Round 7: It’s Way More Important Than You Think!
  • Example: The farm bill is way more important than you think!
     
  • Round 8 (if needed): Small Screen Focus
  • Example: Focus on Pokemon GO, not the road!
     
  • Round 9 (if needed): Disney-fy Dignitaries
  • Example: Should Hillary Clinton just “let it go”?
     
  • Finals: Movements…That Didn’t
  • Example: The free culture movement…didn’t

 

Extemporaneous Debate

Tournament officials post the resolution to be debated for each round 30 minutes prior to the start of flight A.
 
(listed in round order – resolutions published after the tournament)

  • Round 1: Resolved: U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord will cause a significant setback in the fight against climate change.
  • Round 2: Resolved: The Federal Government should establish a “Medicare for All” health insurance program.
  • Round 3: Resolved: The United States Senate filibuster should be eliminated.
  • Round 4: Resolved: The United States should pursue a policy of pressure rather than engagement regarding the Russian Federation.
  • Round 5: Resolved: The Federal Government should not decrease funding for “sanctuary cities” in the United States.
  • Round 6: Resolved: Executive Order 13780 is a necessary and proper order.
  • Round 7: Resolved: On balance, the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited the United States.
  • Round 8: Resolved: The Federal Government should reduce its role in public education in the United States.
  • Round 9: Resolved: Mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses should be abolished in the U.S. criminal justice system.
  • Round 10: Resolved: Income taxes should be levied at a flat tax rate.
  • Round 11: Resolved: Under FCC rules, broadband internet services should remain classified as a “telecommunication service,” not an “information service.”
  • Round 12: Resolved: Social fraternities and sororities on college campuses in the United States should be eliminated.
  • Semifinals: Resolved: Bilingual education should be mandatory in all American public schools.
  • Finals: Resolved: The United States should move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

 

Storytelling

Students competing in Storytelling may use any theme/topic area.

Middle School Topics

Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
 

Middle School Nationals – Policy Debate Case Limits

The 2017 Middle School National Speech & Debate Tournament will institute case limits for Policy Debate. All teams participating must adhere to these limits to avoid forfeiture:

  • Space Cooperation
  • Bilateral Investment Treaty
  • Taiwan Grand Bargain
  • Climate
  • AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank)

 

Public Forum Debate

TOPIC AREA: Africa
Resolved: In East Africa, the United States federal government should prioritize its counterterrorism efforts over its humanitarian assistance.
(A total of 258 schools and 470 students voted for the resolution. The winning resolution received 67% of the school vote and 67% of the student vote.)
 

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: A just government ought to prioritize civil liberties over national security.
 

Middle School Congressional Debate

Download the 2017 middle school docket containing preliminary, semifinal, and final legislation.
 

Extemporaneous Speaking Topic Areas

(listed alphabetically)

  • Africa
  • The Americas
  • Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia
  • Government and Politics
  • International Rights and Organizations
  • Technology and the Environment
  • U.S. Education
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Impromptu Prompt Types

(listed alphabetically)

  • Fables
  • Famous Quotations
  • Fortune Cookies
  • Musicians
  • Myths
  • Politicians
  • Proverbs
  • Sports Figures

 

Extemporaneous Debate

Tournament officials post the resolution to be debated for each round 30 minutes prior to the start of flight A.
 
(listed in round order – resolutions published after the tournament)

  • Round 1: Resolved: Immunizations of children ought to be mandatory.
  • Round 2: Resolved: Felons ought to have a right to vote.
  • Round 3: Resolved: Two-party systems are harmful to a democracy.
  • Round 4: Resolved: The United States should close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
  • Round 5: Resolved: State sponsored healthcare should be a right of all persons in a country.
  • Semifinals: Resolved: Affirmative action is morally justified in the United States.
  • Finals: Resolved: On balance, school choice programs do more harm than good.

 

Storytelling

Students competing in Storytelling may use any theme/topic area.

Share This