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Past Event

Can teaching students real debate reduce political polarization?

Past Event

In the midst of a highly polarized election, with an already polarized electorate, it may seem there is little hope for bridging the deep divisions in American society.

Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Robert Litan argues that teaching middle school and high school students the principles of competitive debate will make for more informed citizens and voters. Litan’s new book, “Resolved: How Debate Can Revolutionize Education and Help Save our Democracy,” makes the case for teaching middle school and high school students how to have reasoned debates where the participants use evidence and reason to constructively engage in civil discourse.

On October 9, Litan was joined by Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at Brookings, and Norman Ornstein, AEI resident scholar, to explore how the principles of competitive debate can improve students’ lifelong work skills while making them more informed and demanding voters, and whether an engaged electorate will in turn change the way political candidates campaign for the better, improving–and maybe even saving–our democracy.

Viewers submitted questions by emailing or on Twitter using #Resolved.

Customers can use the code “DEBATE” for 30% off the book when ordering through our site:



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