What is Policy Debate?Policy Debate is the oldest debate format in the United States and one of the largest and most competitive debate events at the college level. Our policy debaters have continued on to become national and collegiate champions. The Policy Debate division follows an annual high school policy debate resolution, decided upon by the National Forensic League. Students research and write policy solutions to a specific national or international public policy for one full academic year. Policy Debate is considered the most rigorous and evidence-based speech events, and students will essentially earn the equivalent of a master’s degree on that year’s topic.
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Policy debate is the oldest format of debate that is offered at NDA. This type of debate dates all the way back to the 1890s and was found in many colleges across the nation. In this format of debate students debate in pairs creating a debate that is two-on-two. These debates focus on a policy question that gives students a topic or resolution for the entire school year. This format tests student’s research, analytical, and delivery skills. Policy debate has two sides: the affirmative who proposes a plan in which they enact a policy, while the negative side proves reasons why that policy should be rejected. There are also periods of cross-examination where the students get to ask questions of their opponents. Along with cross-examination every student gives two speeches in each debate, these debates last about 90 minutes. Policy debate is the most common form of debate at the college level. Some examples of resolutions include:
- The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth's oceans. (2014-2015)
- The United States federal government should substantially reduce its military and/or police presence in one or more of the following: South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey. (2010-2011)
- The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States. (2009-2010)