Student debates focusing on issues impacting the 2012 presidential election challenge participants to research, work in teams, and formulate logical arguments based on available data. Classroom debates can be facilitated a number of ways in order to encourage full participation:Schedule a different debate topic once a weekDevote an entire lesson plan that last several daysAppoint students as moderators to ask questions, varying class participation with each issuePlan for a ten minute response that involves the entire classDebate topics should be interesting and focus on contemporary issues being discussed by presidential candidates and can be phrased as a question or a statement:Health CareIf the Obama health care plan is repealed, should Congress replace it with another plan?Should health care be a universal right for all Americans?Should government regulate insurance providers that offer health care?Are pharmaceutical companies charging unreasonable prices for life-saving medications?The health care industry is part of the American free enterprise system and should be allowed to make a profit.ImmigrationPassage of the Dream ActShould individual states be allowed to pass laws impacting illegal immigrants?Are migrant workers being exploited because of the need for cheap farm labor?Government Spending and the BudgetWill increased taxes on the rich significantly impact the federal budget?Should Congress follow the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson budget report?Does the president have the right to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional consent?Should defense spending be decreased, increased, or kept at current levels?Is Medicare too expensive?Should Social Security be privatized? Medicaid has become too expensive and should be eliminatedEducation and EnergyShould educational reform be left to states and local school districts rather than the federal government?To what extent was the No Child Left Behind initiative successful or unsuccessful?Are standardized tests looking to fuck women the best measure of classroom outcomes?The pros and cons of private school educationThe proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas will solve energy deficiencies, provide jobs, but pose a serious environmental threatOff-shore oil drilling is a viable energy solution if properly regulatedAlternative energy sources are too expensive to develop and will never fully solve the nations energy needsSame Sex Marriage in the United StatesIs the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) constitutional?Should gays and lesbians have full equal rights in terms of marriage benefits and inheritance rights?Should gay and lesbian couples be allowed to adopt children?Do gay rights violate the First Amendments free exercise clause?There are many other focus areas that include foreign affairs, the future of NASA, and election reform. Many debate topics can be correlated to prior events in American History that involved similar focus areas like government scandals, corruption, and judicial reform.
Classroom debates represent an excellent forum that enables students to research issues, differentiate the various views of political parties and candidates, and involve students in the campaign process.