Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
What Politicians Can Learn From High School Debaters
Members of a Texas high school debate team are working on their presentations. They are debating a call to extend the federal ban on assault weapons. "This is a long-term ban, if you see before this ban -- " "So how long will this ban have to go on? How long will we have to restrict people's rights?" Debaters use evidence and reason to question the arguments of their opponents. "The biggest fallacy that we can possibly talk about is the 'slippery slope fallacy' because it relies on so many other variables."
The students' personal beliefs are not as important as their ability to argue either side of an issue. "So you are saying that if we continue with what's going on now it is going to cost more money?" "Yes." "That is good, but you have to show evidence." Deanne Christensen is the Oakridge High School debate coach.
DEANNE CHRISTENSEN: "It's great when they disagree with each other, it's awesome to see them trying to defend their position." High school debaters can be great critics of candidate debates. Debater Jonathon McClanahan thinks one-sidedness weakens civility.
JONATHON McCLANAHAN: "I don't think we should have to hate the president to disagree with him. That's why I honestly believe that with partisanship we need to be more respectful to each other. We need to be able to have bi-partisan bills passed. We need to work together more." Bryce Brady thinks political leaders could learn from high school debaters. BRYCE BRADY: "I definitely think politicians today could get a real lesson from a high school debate team."
DEANNE CHRISTENSEN: "They're very smart and they want to see this country be successful because they are that future of our country." Deanne Christensen believes some of these award-winning debaters will be the leaders of tomorrow. I'm June Simms.