125 High School Debate Topics To Challenge Every Student

Learn how to argue with logic instead of emotion.

Some teachers shy away from debate in the classroom, afraid it will become too adversarial. But learning to discuss and defend various points of view is an important life skill. Debates teach students to research their topic, make informed choices, and argue effectively using facts instead of emotion. You’ll find plenty of engaging high school debate topics in this list for inspiration. Each topic includes a link to an article from a reliable source that provides pros and/or cons to help kids make their arguments.

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School and Education Debate Topics

Students should be required to wear school uniforms.
  1. It’s better to be good at academics than to be good at sports.
  2. Final exams should be abolished.
  3. Students should be required to wear school uniforms.
  4. Private schools are better than public schools.
  5. Year-round school is better for students.
  6. Standardized tests are effective.
  7. Every student should have to participate in athletics.
  8. All students should be required to volunteer in their community.
  9. Junk food should be banned in school cafeterias.
  10. Single-gender schools are better for students.
  11. Schools should be allowed to teach critical race theory.
  12. Math is the most important school subject.
  13. Schools should teach sex ed instead of abstinence only.
  14. Letter grades should be abolished.
  15. Teachers should be replaced by computers.
  16. People who get better grades in school will be more successful in life.
  17. Sometimes it’s OK to cheat on homework or a test.
  18. Students who fail a test should be given the chance to take it again.
  19. Outdoor recess is important at every grade level.
  20. Students should be allowed to grade teachers.
  21. Everyone should be able to bring their pets to school.
  22. Shorter school days are better for students.
  23. Schools should eliminate dress codes.
  24. Everyone should be required to go to college.
  25. College should be free for everyone who wants to attend.
  26. Schools should install safe rooms in case of mass shootings or natural disasters.
  27. Schools should be allowed to ban some books from their libraries.
  28. Book smarts are better than street smarts.
  29. Schools should provide free mental health services to students and teachers.
  30. Schools should teach life skills like cooking and personal finance.
  31. School vouchers benefit students and schools.
  32. Religion has no place in schools.
  33. In-person school is better than online school.
  34. Traditional school is better than homeschooling.
  35. Charter schools should receive public school funds.

Life and Ethics Debate Topics

Cigarette smoking and vaping should be banned entirely.
  1. Girls face more peer pressure than boys.
  2. The voting age should be lowered to 16.
  3. Humans should not eat animals.
  4. Democracy is the best form of government.
  5. All Americans should be required to vote.
  6. Cigarette smoking and vaping should be banned entirely.
  7. Giving is better than receiving.
  8. Parents should be punished for their children’s mistakes.
  9. Animals should not be kept in zoos.
  10. Happiness is more important than success.
  11. The driving age should be raised to 18.
  12. The drinking age should be lowered to 18.
  13. Plastic bottles should be banned.
  14. People should have to take a parenting class before having a child.
  15. If you find money on the ground, it’s automatically yours to keep.
  16. It is better to be kind than to be truthful.
  17. Learning about history can stop us from repeating past mistakes.
  18. It’s important to spend money exploring space.
  19. White-collar jobs are better than blue-collar jobs.
  20. The death penalty should be abolished.
  21. Drug addicts should receive help instead of punishment.
  22. Euthanasia should be legal.
  23. GMOs are more helpful than harmful.
  24. Human cloning should be legal.
  25. A progressive income tax is better than a flat tax.
  26. Supreme Court judges should be appointed for fixed terms.
  27. Vaccines should be mandatory.
  28. We should ban fossil fuels.
  29. Marijuana should be legal everywhere.
  30. All drugs should be legalized, regulated, and taxed, like alcohol.
  31. Nuclear weapons should be banned worldwide.
  32. Police funding should be redirected to social services.
  33. Religion does more harm than good.
  34. Testing on animals should be illegal.
  35. We will never achieve world peace.
  36. The United States should implement a universal basic income.
  37. We should require people of all genders to register for the draft.
  38. Healthcare should be universal.
  39. Gun safety laws infringe on the Second Amendment.
  40. Anyone over 12 should be tried as an adult in court.

Entertainment and Technology Debate Topics

Social media does more harm than good.
  1. Reality television depicts real life.
  2. Schools should allow students to use phones in class.
  3. Macs are better than PCs.
  4. Androids are better than iPhones.
  5. Social media is making us less social.
  6. Social media does more harm than good.
  7. Video games are better than board games.
  8. Video gaming is a sport.
  9. Reading books is better than watching TV.
  10. We should replace all paper documents with electronic versions.
  11. The book is always better than the movie.
  12. Parents should use their kids’ cell phones to track them.
  13. Playing video games makes you smarter.
  14. Scientists should try to develop a way for everyone to live forever.
  15. Paper books are better than e-books.
  16. Schools should have surveillance cameras in classrooms and hallways.
  17. All museums and zoos should be free to everyone.
  18. There is intelligent life on other planets.
  19. People rely too much on technology.
  20. Everyone should play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender.
  21. Net neutrality should be mandatory for internet service providers.
  22. Expanded use of artificial intelligence will be good for humanity.
  23. Technology is creating more jobs than it eliminates.
  24. The United States should provide free internet access for everyone.
  25. Cryptocurrencies should replace cash.

Fun and Funny Debate Topics

Dogs are better pets than cats.
  1. Dogs are better pets than cats.
  2. A taco is a sandwich.
  3. Summer is better than winter.
  4. Coke is better than Pepsi.
  5. Pepperoni is the best pizza topping.
  6. Fruit counts as dessert.
  7. The number 13 is not unlucky.
  8. People should eat to live, not live to eat.
  9. Monday is the worst day of the week.
  10. Clowns are more scary than funny.
  11. Modern music is better than classical music.
  12. Aliens live among us here on Earth.
  13. It’s OK to put ketchup on a hot dog.
  14. Was Robin Hood a thief or a rebel hero?
  15. It would be better to be able to fly than to be able to turn invisible.
  16. Pluto should still be considered a planet.
  17. It’s better to be too hot than too cold.
  18. We should allow people to go barefoot anywhere if they want to.
  19. Fiction is better than non-fiction.
  20. Using profanity is good for your mental health.
  21. Leftover pizza is better cold than reheated.
  22. It’s OK to wear socks with sandals.
  23. Being famous is actually not all that great.
  24. GIF should be pronounced “JIFF” not “GIFF.”
  25. People shouldn’t have to go to school or work on their birthdays.

Did we miss one of your favorite high school debate topics? Then come share on the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook!

Plus, how to use fishbowl discussions to engage every student .

These high school debate topics range from fun and funny to complex and ethical, with links to reliable pro/con sources for each.