Forty-four delegates from 19 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 August 2-4 in Chicago, Illinois. Ten topic reports were presented by authors who, for the past 11 months, researched each topic area.
State delegates and participants deliberated for three days to determine the final five topic areas: Climate Change, Criminal Justice Reform, Commercial Agriculture, Election Reform and Health Coverage.
Serving on the 2019 Wording Committee were: Susan McLain, Oregon (Chairperson); Jana Riggins, Texas; Pam McComas, Kansas; Grace Gill, South Dakota; Darin Maier, Mississippi; Chris Lowery, Indiana; and Nicole Cornish, Texas.
Balloting for the 2020-21 national high school debate topic will take place in a two-fold process. During the months of September and October, coaches and students will have the opportunity to discuss the five selected problem areas. 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 November and December to determine the favored topic area. In January, the NFHS will announce the 2020-21 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: CLIMATE CHANGE
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase market-based regulations requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
PROBLEM AREA II: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Resolved: The United States federal government should enact substantial criminal justice reform in the United States in one or more of the following: forensic science, policing, sentencing.
PROBLEM AREA III: COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its regulation of commercial agriculture in the United States.
PROBLEM AREA IV: ELECTION REFORM
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its regulation of federal elections in one or more of the following: campaign finance, electoral interference, redistricting, voting rights.
PROBLEM AREA V: HEALTH COVERAGE
Resolved: The United States federal government should ensure universal health coverage in the United States.