New Policy Debate Quarterly Features 2020-21 Debate Topic of Criminal Justice Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: James Weaver
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 8, 2020) — The almost-century old publication for high school debaters has a new name. After 93 years as The Forensic Quarterly, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has re-titled the publication The Policy Debate Quarterly (PDQ) to more accurately describe its content.
And the first PDQ will feature material on the upcoming 2020-21 National High School Policy Debate Topic – “Criminal Justice Reform.” The NFHS annually selects the National High School Policy Debate Topic and publishes four issues of The Policy Debate Quarterly.
“Criminal Justice Reform” was selected over “Climate Change” in a vote that included ballots from 32 states and the District of Columbia, the National Speech and Debate Association, National Catholic Forensic League, National Association for Urban Debate Leagues and the Nation Debate Coaches Association. In claiming 59.5 percent of the vote, “Criminal Justice Reform” was the preferred debate choice for 19 states, the District of Columbia and two of the four national organizations.
“The NFHS Debate Topic Selection process is rigorous to find timely and deep topics for some of the most intelligent and ambitious student participants,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports. “The process begins with 15 topic papers and ends with a year-long topic that is debated around the United States and the world.”
For the past 93 years, The Forensic Quarterly had been a credible, highly respected resource for the high school debate community and is well known for its thorough yearly assessment of the national debate topic. Under its new moniker chosen by the NFHS Speech, Debate, Theatre and Academics Advisory Committee, The Policy Debate Quarterly will continue to provide the same quality content.
“This name change will help the publication be more visible moving into its next 100 years,” Weaver said. “The Policy Debate Quarterly is an integral part of high school policy debate and the national debate topic.”
The Policy Debate Quarterly focuses on the affirmative cases, topic terms, counterplans and negative responses related to the national debate topic. Over the course of four annual issues, debaters and coaches are introduced to the topic for the upcoming year, provided with research topics and methods including an annotated bibliography, and given in-depth insight on the topic’s positive and negative stances. The first two issues for 2020-21, which are now available on the NFHS website (, are focused on introduction and research.
For more information and to purchase print or digital copies of the first two installments, click on the following link:

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