2017-2018 Policy Debate Topic
The Dallas Urban Debate Alliance utilizes the Policy Debate format for its events. Each year, a single topic is voted upon and used across the country by all teams participating in Policy Debate. The topic is the starting point for our debates.
This year’s official topic wording is:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.
In the Fall of 2017, students will focus on one of two aspect of the topic:
(1) whether the federal government should increase funding for students with disabilities; or,
(2) whether the federal government should encourage states to fund school districts equitably.
At Dallas Urban Debate tournaments, students may only use research materials provided by Dallas Urban Debate – these resources are known as “Core Files.” Each experience level (“Division”) has its own set of Core Files – MS Beginner, MS Advanced, HS Novice, and HS Junior Varsity. We will introduce a set of Core Files for use in the Fall and another for use in the Spring.
The only exception to the Core Files rule is the HS Varsity Division – where students are allowed to introduce their own research on the topic as evidence in the debate round.
We provide paper copies of the Core Files to all teams that participate in our events at no cost. You can also access electronic copies of our core files here.
Varsity / Non-Core File Resources
Unlike their younger peers, Varsity debaters are allowed to do their own research in order to create unique arguments. While we strongly encourage original research, students who want a preview of what other debaters across the country are reading can refer to the following resources:
Open Evidence Project – features full sets of research produced by summer debate institutes before the debate season starts.
Policy Debate Wiki – features disclosure/outlines of arguments read by teams from across the country.
National Association for Urban Debate Leagues core files – Evidence produced by the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. Another source of arguments and evidence for our Varsity debaters. In partnership with The Asia Group, NAUDL has also produced a series of introductions to their own core file arguments.
Demo Debate: this video exhibits a simplified policy debate (using middle school times) to help students, coaches, and judges better understand the format and structure of policy debate as well some of the components of the Fall Core Files. At around 35 minutes in length, this video is short enough for in-class or after-school viewing.
This demo debate is also useful as a note-taking (aka “flowing”) exercise – simply play the video and transcribe the speeches. That said, most Dallas Urban Debaters will benefit from watching a holistic video on flowing techniques before attempting to do so.