Topic & Core Files


This year's debate topic is: 

Resolved: The United States federal government should enact substantial criminal justice reform in the United States in one or more of the following: forensic science, policing, sentencing.

Core Files - download here!

In order to foster an equitable environment for Dallas ISD students as they learn the basics of debate, DUDA produces sets of topic research to guide debater's approach to the topic, known as "Core Files." 


The following areas will be the focus of this year's Core Files: 

  • Fall - whether or not we should abolish the death penalty 

  • Spring - whether or not we should demilitarize police


Required use of Core Files

At DUDA events, students are required to use only the arguments and evidence contained these files. While it constrains unique approaches to the topic, our decision to limit the spectrum of arguments is aligned with a national consensus among urban debate leagues. The time, expertise, database access, and financial burden required to produce well-researched files is substantial. As a result, we choose to pursue the most equitable approach to fostering debate access - even if it trades off slightly with depth of engagement with the topic. 

There are 2 exceptions to our Core Files restrictions at DUDA events: 

  • High School Varsity Debaters - students in this division (who have ample experience in the activity) compete without evidence restrictions. They may use the Core Files, but they should be prepared for any argument related to the topic. 

  • City Championships - at City Championship events in the Spring, students in all divisions (including MS Beginner/Advanced and HS Novice/JV) are encouraged to independently research updates to the arguments contained in the Core Files.


Highly motivated students who wish to debate without Core File restrictions should coordinate with their coach to explore competition options outside of Dallas ISD. However, DUDA is currently unable to financially support teams at these competitions (as entry fees can become quite costly). 

How to use the Core Files

The Core Files are specialized tools intended to help students engage complicated and controversial topics from many perspectives. At first glance, they may be intimidating or overwhelming. Please refer to the Student Workbook on our Campus Resources page for step-by-step help navigating the files!