So this is cool: the National Forensic League -- the national honor society that promotes debating skills for high school students, and which suggests topics for debate teams -- has announced their policy topic for the 2011 - 2012 debating season... and I like it!
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.
Nice! I think this is an excellent topic, and I know it'll get a lot of folks thinking about space. There are a lot of pros and cons to space exploration, of course, but to me the positives far, far outstrip the negatives. Not everyone agrees, so I'd be interested in seeing some of these debates. I get a lot of questions -- a lot -- about astronomy and space from kids in this age group. I expect this debate topic will prompt many more, since I'm outspoken on the topic. So I'll take this opportunity to link to a few of my earlier blog posts where I make my opinions pretty clear. I've divided them up into subtopics to make them a little easier to read, too. I have no problem trying to influence the opinions of others, but my intent here is to give any potential debaters a place to start, a jumping-off point. Agree with me? Disagree? Why, that's why we have debates!
Politics and space - Space leaders to Congress: light this private candle
Space exploration - What value space exploration?
I expect I'll be referring a few students to this blog post in the year to come... and if you know kids who are interested, let them know about the topic! And, as always: per ardua, ad astra. Tip o' the spacesuit visor to Linda Mitts for this info.