What to expect from Education

There are lots of doom and gloom prophecies about the upcoming education topic. It won’t be great, but it won’t be the worst by any stretch. To illustrate this lets start with a discussion of the last education topic.

 

This was like 99, and the resolution was: That the federal government should establish an education policy to significantly increase academic achievement in secondary schools in the United States.

 

There are a few key differences between that and the current resolution

The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

 

I think these differences make this a much, much worse topic than that one.

1.Scope- broadening from secondary (high school) to elementary and secondary is a big increase in types of cases. Now, lots of these cases won’t be strategic (most “teach x subject” affs will lose on states for example) but its not like there are a lot of unified education policies that apply to both, they are pretty different. And have different lit bases/advantages. I can’t really imagine an offensive argument for including both that passes muster

2. “regulation or funding” vs “education policy”. There are 2 kinds of T debate- good and bad. The T argument “your desegregation aff is more than a requirement because buses don’t require” is bad T. Its asinine. Education policy is curriculum choice vs education policy is administrative structure/accountability is a good T debate. The latter relies on conceptual differences on what words should mean, the former relies on pedantry. Furthermore, “funding” is nonsense- there are going to be maybe 5 federal funding affs that can beat states (thinking to the last topic I can think of 1 that was actually funding (giving money) and a few more that prob meet a broader interp of funding that doesn’t require direct cash transfer). All good affs will be regulation for obvious reasons.

3. “academic achievement” -this was a pretty important limiting term. Schools do lots of things- finger painting, lunch,  and then less strenuous classes like AP English. You can make schools do even more things. Academic achievement as a phrase was a key limiting term- there were definitions that it had to be measured in standardized tests so if the aff couldn’t prove they increased scores in core areas they weren’t T. This wasn’t a silver bullet , but was pretty good to have vs  tiny cases.

 

That all being said, what did the last education topic look like?

Camps were complete anarchy. Cases turned out at camps that year included everything from gun tracing (cause violence hurts grades) to ban Ritalin to peace education. There was definitely no consensus on what the topic would/should look like.  The neg relied on a lot of process arguments (states, delegation, courts) and politics for the most part. Foucault and cap were the big K args for the most part.

 

Once the season started the topic very quickly polarized into those reading a mainstream aff, and those who weren’t. The most popular mainstream affs were

-GLBT discrimination- there were multiple versions of this, but they did some or all of the following: change harassment law, include sensitivity training/counseling, create curriculum to educate students about sexual orientation/preference based discrimination( a huge number of debates that year focused on these conceptual/terminological distinctions like orientation vs preference etc). Why was this aff so good? Well the harm area is pretty hard to argue against for one. At that time (late 90’s) we were sort of reaching the societal inflection point on a lot of these issues and so the culture change solvency evidence was also very good. There was also the fact that some debaters got authors to write cards with lines like “even if all 50 states…” but I’m sure that wasn’t a big factor.

-DC Vouchers- I assume this became a thing because people thought it answered states? I’m not really sure. It was huge first semester and then kinda disappeared.

-Ban JROTC- this aff usually claimed a sort of K/militarism advantage. Im not sure why people thought this had a fed key warrant (expanding JROTC does as the USFG controls that, but schools can chose to kick it out) but they did. I’m not sure why people thought it had a good advantage but they did. Still bitter.

-Super Ed-Flex- this was the “big stick” hegemony aff. It offered competitive block grants to states, so states who did better got more money, and claimed education was k2 competitiveness. This aff would be significantly worse now a days given the K

-Science education – the states answer here was…. yea I can’t remember what it was… but it was something. Anywhoo- science has lots of good big impacts (warming, competitiveness, asteroids etc) and actually had some pretty good K stuff . The final round of the TOC was STS science aff vs Foucault K of science

 

Then there were a ton of 1 off affs being read by few teams, these affs usually had some weird “trick” to answer states. Examples

-Bilingual education- had a trade/econ advantage. 2AC trick to states- Federal support of english only gets modeled

-Exchanges- there were a few different affs about random curriculum who answered states by doing student or teacher exchanges (which states can’t approve). So we read a interdisciplinary holocaust education aff that cooperated with Israel.

-Harassment- this combined could be a big category, but there were so many different versions/court decisions about harassment (of all kinds) in schools that it was very easy to just tweak one small thing in reporting rules or something. These aff’s relied on federal law like Title IX as their states answer

-Various K affs- like environmental education or peace education- these aff’s usually relied on some kind of K of the net benefit kind of argument to answer states

 

So what did the neg do?

-lot of process/states and politics. ASPEC was still a voting issue so most affirmatives specified their agents.  This was back when politics was good, in fact maybe the best politics disad of all time (China NTR)

-when possible they debated the case (gasp!). For the bigger/most popular cases there are lots of in depth specific debates to be had, which is why its a shame the new education topic is so broad- that will make it harder for this to happen.

-lots of T

 

Depending on what you like, being neg either sounds awesome or horrifying. I def got pretty bored of states after like 3 tournaments. At the start of the year I wrote like 3 extension blocks for it, which combined with cheating was more than most aff’s could handle. There was also a LOT less “hired gun” coaching 18 years ago so people stuck with the same aff much longer (in fact thinking of the like top 10 teams I can’t think of a single one who’s evidence production was even like 50% from coaches, #lawn). In fact I think all 5 of who would be considered the “top” teams that year (this is pre-baker) read the same aff the whole year (although some broke new at the TOC).

 

Trying to address a few other random q’s I have gotten about the topic

 

what were the main K’s?

Cap was big 

Foucault/Biopower, this was also when performance started being a bigger thing

Deschooling

 

Why do you hate the states CP so much?

 

This could take a while… the TLDR version is this

-there is not very much evidence discussing the USFG vs 50 states acting uniformly because its not a real world concern

-this results in the neg relying on either shoddy evidence of fiat tricks to win the CP solves

-this is crappy debate

 

The main beef I have is that states is as bad or worse than Consult, but for some reason everything thinks its legit. It’s not.

 

 

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