Commentary: How critical theory is radicalizing high school debate

July 30, 2023 1 min read

Maya Bodnick
Slow Boring, Substack

Excerpt: Every year, hundreds of thousands of students around the U.S. participate in competitive debate. Most start competing at a young age (early high school or even middle school), eager to learn about politics. At its best, the activity teaches students how to think critically about the government and the trade-offs that policymakers face. They are assigned to argue for different positions that they may not agree with and engage with their peers’ diverse perspectives.

Instead of expanding students’ worldviews, debate has increasingly narrowed to become a microcosm of critical theory. These critical theory arguments, known as kritiks, are usually wielded by the negation side to criticize the fundamental assumptions of their affirmation side opponents.

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