Debate Topics for the High School Classroom

50 Topics for Debate and Discussion

High School Debate
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Debates are a great way for students to get involved in class. Students have to research topics, prepare for the debate with their team and allow students to think on their feet as they practice public speaking.

Speaking and listening, oral language, are at the foundation of literacy, and debate requires both speaking and listening. Debates are one way to increase both skills in the classroom.

Moreover, the use of debate in grades 7-12 is promoted as a speaking and listening skill in the Common Core State Standards and can be held in any grade level or content area.

 The practice of debate, which is defined as a "formal discussion on a particular topic," helps students to build the skills necessary for college and career readiness. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

In summary, this anchor standard encourages student participation and collaboration, both of which are 21st Century skills.

The following  list of 50 debate topics is for use in High School classrooms. There are social issues, school and community issues, and historical topics on this list for debate. While some of these are specifically written for a particular part of the curriculum, others can be modified or used in a number of different classes. Each item is listed as a proposition that one side (student or team) team argues to defends while the other side (student or team) argues to oppose.


Learn more about class debates: How to Hold a Class Debate.

High School Debate Topics

  1. All students should have an after school job.
  2. Partial birth abortion should be illegal.
  3. Every student should be required to take a performing arts course.
  4. Homework should be banned.
  5. School uniforms should be required.
  6. Year round education is not a good idea for student learning.
  1. Physical Education should be required of all students throughout high school.
  2. All students should be required to perform one year of community service.
  3. Schools should block Youtube.
  4. Students should be able to leave school for lunch.
  5. All parents should be required to attend parenting classes before having a child.
  6. Single-sex schools are better for students.
  7. Cyberbullying that occurs outside of school, should be punished by the school.
  8. Teachers should not be allowed to contact students through social media.
  9. Public prayer should not be allowed in schools.
  10. High stakes state testing should be abolished.
  11. All people should be vegetarians.
  12. Renewable forms of energy should be subsidized by the government.
  13. America should be able to provide foreign aid to countries that kill and sell items from endangered animals.
  14. It is never appropriate for the government to restrict freedom of speech.
  15. Human cloning should be banned.
  16. Poetry should be removed from the curriculum.
  17. The US Government should fund a space mission to Mars.
  18. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) should be banned.
  19. Democracy is the best form of government.
  20. All citizens who do not vote should pay a fine.
  21. The death penalty should be abolished.
  22. Sports stars should be positive role models.
  1. The right to bear arms is a necessary constitutional amendment.
  2. Progressive tax rates are unfair.
  3. The voting age should be lowered.
  4. The driving age should be raised.
  5. Video games are too violent.
  6. History (or other subject _______) is an important subject in school.
  7. Schools should not be allowed to track students by academic level.
  8. Students should be required to pass algebra to graduate.
  9. Affirmative action should be abolished.
  10. Students should not be graded on their handwriting.
  11. America should not give foreign aid to other countries.
  12. The US government should provide Internet service for every citizen.
  13. People should be fined for not recycling.
  14. Performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in sports.
  15. Parents should be allowed to choose their baby's gender.
  16. Animal testing should be banned.
  17. Drone attacks against specific targets are a necessary part of modern warfare.
  1. All students should take an online course.
  2. Social media comments should be protected by free speech.
  3. A border fence should be constructed between US and Mexico.
  4. Women should not get the right to vote. (Note: This provides students with historical context for the 19th Amendment.)
  5. The theory of Intelligent design should be taught in science classes.