Students who enjoy debating and discussing current events can sign up for Speak Truth, a program in which small groups of students can discuss current issues. All opinions and points of view are welcome. The capacity of the program is 128 total student participants. Parents and teachers are welcome to observe, but direct participation is limited to students. Groups of students will be encouraged to split into different topics. This program is sponsored by the Center for Inspired Teaching.
Location: George Washington University (specific location will be sent to participants).
Wednesday, June 12, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Junior or Senior Division students)
Students will select the specific topics for discussion, but a sample list with descriptions can be found below.
The Electoral College - How does the electoral college system in the U.S. work? Should it be replaced by the popular vote? Did the Founding Fathers know something we don't know? Is there a better way to elect the U.S. president? November 2020 is fast-approaching. Let's discuss.
"Gotta Get In": The Recent College Admissions Scandal and Affirmative Action - There isn't anyone at this university from Alaska -- so what? Does that college really "need" a clarinet player from Taiwan? Why aren't there more people of color at this university? Is it right to let a student into this school because her parent donated a million dollars? To what extent is a college or university responsible for admitting different kinds of people? Is it time to revisit the way college admission works? Do Americans put too much emphasis on going to college? Let's discuss.
Gun Violence - Some people say that guns don't kill people, people do. Does the United States have a gun problem, a mental illness epidemic, or both? To what extent does our perspective about guns depend on where we live? What should be done about gun violence in the United States? What can Americans learn from other countries? Join us for this discussion of life and death.
Healing the Wounds or Opening Pandora's Box? A Discussion of Reparations -Should the federal government, state governments, and private entities in the United States pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved people? What is owed to the First Nations (Native Americans)? There's been a lot of injustice in this world; if we "pay" one group, won't every aggrieved group come to the table? Where does it stop? Are reparations an avenue to a better society? How do we heal the wounds of history? Join us for this discussion of the past, present and future.
Puerto Rico: Nation, State or Status Quo? - What exactly does it mean to be a U.S. territory? Has the federal government done enough to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria? Would Puerto Rico be better off as the 51st state or as an independent nation? Join us for a discussion of Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria and the options moving forward.
Rising to the Test -Many young people arrive to college under-prepared; should high school students have to pass certain tests in order to graduate? Should colleges and universities continue to judge applicants by their standardized test scores? Why do so many people complain about these, anyway? Some nations outside the U.S. put more emphasis on standardized tests; what can we learn from them? If not test scores, how do students prove what they know? Let's put these questions to the test together.
Saving the Planet...One Straw at a Time -What do you know about the Green New Deal? What exactly is a "wind farm"? What does banning straws do to help the environment? Should we all go solar in our homes and electric in our cars? How should the world work together to avoid environmental apocalypse? Join us for a discussion of environmental concerns worldwide.
Social Media: The New Comic Books? - In the 1950s, many adults in the U.S. (including government officials) were concerned that comic books were corrupting the youth. Some people today say the same about social media. What effect is social media having on you and your friends? What's the upside of social media? How do we go about reining in its negative effects? Will people be able to stay off their phones for the entirety of this discussion? Let's find out.
Squashing Stereotypes - Not everyone in D.C. knows the president, not everyone in Nebraska is a farmer, and not everyone in Hawaii knows how to surf. What do you want people in other places to know about where you live and who you are? Join a diverse group of young people to discuss (and squash?) some stereotypes and get to a better understanding of who we are.