The Instigator
Bnesiba
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

All public schools in the United States should be required teach foreign language up to highschool.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,970 times Debate No: 2932
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (16)

 

Bnesiba

Pro

if you look at the global situation, nearly all of europe and most of the rest of the developed and semi-developed world is required to take english classes. usually, these classes start at about 2nd grade and are required up through highschool.

by the end of conventional schooling, these students know their native language as well as english. Yet, in the united states, most students can only speak one language. english.

other languages are important, they help people communicate with the world and help understand english as well as making it easier to travel. Understanding another language also makes it easier to understand the culture of the native speakers.

because of this, i beleive that all public schools should be required to teach a foreign language, (preferably spanish, german or french) until the 9th grade, and all public highschools should offer courses in at least these three languages.
beem0r

Con

I thoroughly disagree with my opponent's resolution. Schools should not be forced to teach foreign language. At all.

First, I will respond to my opponent's first point. Essentially, he says, "people in other countries learn English as well as their native language, therefore we should learn more than 1 language." This makes absolutely no sense, and is in fact nonsense. If people in other countries know English, then English is all we need to know! Teaching foreign languages in schools would therefore completely useless, as it has next to no advantage for the students.

My opponent says that 2nd languages are important, and help us communicate and travel easier. However, as I said already, other people are already learning English as a second language, so both ours and their ability to communicate and travel are taken care of. We can travel there, because they know English. They can travel here, because they know English.

My opponent also asserted that understanding a language helps one understand the culture of the native speakers. However, this is more nonsense. If I learned Spanish, would I understand the culture of Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, any better? If I would, which country would I understand better? Even if I did gain some cultural knowledge from learning a new language, this is no reason for schools to force students to learn a new language. There are not only much easier ways to learn about cultures (like actually learning about them) but there is no reason we should be forced to learn about the culture of county X.

I believe I've sufficiently defended my stance for now.
Debate Round No. 1
Bnesiba

Pro

"people in other countries learn English as well as their native language, therefore we should learn more than 1 language." This makes absolutely no sense, and is in fact nonsense. If people in other countries know English, then English is all we need to know! Teaching foreign languages in schools would therefore completely useless, as it has next to no advantage for the students.

My opponent says that 2nd languages are important, and help us communicate and travel easier. However, as I said already, other people are already learning English as a second language, so both ours and their ability to communicate and travel are taken care of. We can travel there, because they know English. They can travel here, because they know English.
-------
i agree with you here, in many countries we could visit because they speak english well enough, however there are other countries( mexico for example) that do not have required english classes, and, because of this, learning a second language would be beneficial for students.

ALSO. because they are required to learn our language, and we are not required to learn theirs, and we think that: "If people in other countries know English, then English is all we need to know" we promote cultural imperialism.

by promoting cultural imperialism, by way of requiring other countries to learn english to be able to communicate with us, we damage their culture and damage global stability.

basically, by not teaching other languages in school, we force other countries to speak english, which in turn damages their language and the culture attached to their language. When countries realise that if they continue, their language will die out completely, they may stop teaching english, suddenly making it impossible for the united states to communicate.

(france would be one country that i could envision this happening to, since they value their language so much)

_________
My opponent also asserted that understanding a language helps one understand the culture of the native speakers. However, this is more nonsense. If I learned Spanish, would I understand the culture of Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, any better? If I would, which country would I understand better? Even if I did gain some cultural knowledge from learning a new language, this is no reason for schools to force students to learn a new language. There are not only much easier ways to learn about cultures (like actually learning about them) but there is no reason we should be forced to learn about the culture of county X.
------

actually, this is not nonsense. If you look at the eskimo language, they have 40-something words for snow. this shows us that in their culture, snow is very important. (i've now learned something about their culture)

even if you look at spanish, they have masculine and feminine words. this undoubtedly affects what they think of each word, and how they are used.

also, by forcibly preventing students from learning about other cultures, this would DEFINENTLY impact the ability to travel, as well as promoting cultural imperialism, which, as i stated above damages the countries culture and damages national stability.(as well as national relations)

finally, by not teaching second languages, this would almost completely stop immigration, since, our english as a second language classes are, unfortunately, very much lacking in many places, and no one would be able to understand them.(immigrants usually come from countries w/ problems or underdeveloped countries, most of which do not have required english courses, or any at all)

also, right now, immigrants have a hard/impossible time actually earning a good living and moving out of poverty.

so, because we do not want to promote cultural imperialism(aka Hegemony.) because it causes many problems, because we want to be able to travel to other countries (even the ones that are underdeveloped.. i mean seriously.. if we don't have translators...) and because we do not want united states immigration to stop, which would cause the economy to be hurt more than it already is, i believe that the united states should require all public schools to teach second language from 2nd to 8th grade, and all high schools to offer second language courses.
beem0r

Con

I'll get right to responding to my opponent's points.
First, he asserts that by not requiring foreign language classes to be taken, we're forcing people to learn English to visit here. However, this is simply wrong. I went on vacation in Italy, I don't know Italian. I was fine. Perhaps I would need to know Italian to LIVE there, but that would be a burden I should bear. Don't live in Italy if you don't know Italian, don't live in the US if you don't know English. Any problems you have by not following this advice are YOUR fault, not the fault of the country that didn't require its children to learn your language.

My opponent makes statements like "by not teaching other languages in school, we force other countries to speak english, which in turn damages their language and the culture attached to their language."
Since when am I advocating that we stop teaching foreign languages? I am simply advocating that it should be a choice class, an elective. Also, there's nothing forcing them to teach English (just as there's nothing forcing us to teach Spanish, French, or Swahili).

My opponent states: "If you look at the eskimo language, they have 40-something words for snow. this shows us that in their culture, snow is very important. (i've now learned something about their culture)"

However, this does not contradict what I was saying. I don't know any of the Eskimo language, and yet I already knew this oh-so-surprising tidbit of information. Why? Because learning about a culture does not require you to learn their language. You can simply learn heir culture. What we learn in social studies classes is enough, and if it isn't, we should have to take more social studies classes about culture, not learn more languages.

Also, do you claim we should now have to learn the Eskimo language? I don't understand what you attempt to prove with this point.

My opponent said: "also, by forcibly preventing students from learning about other cultures, this would DEFINENTLY impact the ability to travel, as well as promoting cultural imperialism, which, as i stated above damages the countries culture and damages national stability.(as well as national relations)"

I don't recall ever saying we should FORCE students NOT to take foreign language classes. It is my opponent who seeks to force students to do something, I am leaving the decision up to the students.

My opponent said: "finally, by not teaching second languages, this would almost completely stop immigration, since, our english as a second language classes are, unfortunately, very much lacking in many places, and no one would be able to understand them.(immigrants usually come from countries w/ problems or underdeveloped countries, most of which do not have required english courses, or any at all)"

A> If someone wants to live in country X, they should learn the language of country X, the country should not have to learn theirs.
B> Once again, I am NOT advocating "not teaching foreign languages." I am advocating such classes being electives.
C> This is a reason to better our own ESL classes, not to become a nation that bends over backwards to anyone who doesn't want to learn English. What if someone who speaks Swahili moves here? Are they out of luck, simply because theirs isn't one of the languages we'd be forcing kids to learn? Yes, they are, as is anyone else who thinks we should be learning their language so they can move here. They chose to move here, so they need to deal with the consequences.

High schools should offer foreign language classes, as should middle schools and even elementary schools. But they should not be forced on the student.

Also, consider the following:

I took Russian and French classes in middle school. Can I still speak more than a few words in these languages? No. Because I, like most people both in and out of school, do not use foreign languages on a regular basis. Whatever languages you force kids to learn in 2-8th grades will soon be forgotten by most of these students. Only those interested in the first place will retain the knowledge, and they would have taken the class as an elective.

Also, why do you say we should only cater to the needs of certain countries? Why not teach mandatory Swahili? Are they not as important as the French? Why not force children to know Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Portugese, Bengali, Malay, Japanese, Farsi, Urdu, Punjabi, Vietnamese, Tamil, Wu, Javanese, Turkish, Telugu, Korean, Marathi, Italian, Thai, Cantonese, Gujarati, Polish, Kannada, and Burmese too? Are the speakers of these languages not as important? Is it okay for us to destroy their cultures, which you claim is what we do by not forcing kids to learn their languages?

There is no legitimate reason kids should be forced to learn any language except their country's native tongue.
Debate Round No. 2
Bnesiba

Pro

First, my all of my opponants arguments simply boil down to simply " i don't see any reason to do this, therfore don't" if you look to this argument, you can see that as long as i can provide ONE advantage to affirming the resolution, there is no reason why you should not automatically vote pro.

also, my opponant said: "High schools should offer foreign language classes, as should middle schools and even elementary schools. But they should not be forced on the student."

i don't know where he went to elementery and middle school, but i don't remember being able to choose classes in either elementery or middle school. therfore, by advocating offering these classes in middle and elementery school, and by advocating that they be offered in high school, my opponant advocates the exact same thing i am, that they are required in elementery and middle school, and that they are offered in high school.

ok,
onto the debate:

first my opponant states:
"First, he asserts that by not requiring foreign language classes to be taken, we're forcing people to learn English to visit here. However, this is simply wrong. I went on vacation in Italy, I don't know Italian. I was fine. Perhaps I would need to know Italian to LIVE there, but that would be a burden I should bear. Don't live in Italy if you don't know Italian, don't live in the US if you don't know English. Any problems you have by not following this advice are YOUR fault, not the fault of the country that didn't require its children to learn your language."
-----

i don't doubt that you were able to get around in italy, but, i also don't doubt that you met people there who spoke your native language(english) and that it would have been easier and more enjoyable if you understood what the majority of people were saying.

Because of the fact that knowlege of italian would have helped you, and because people there helped you by speaking your native language i belive that teaching students forign languages would allow them to better enjoy themselves abrod and would allow them to travel easier. Also, i'm sure it was a releif to be able to speak your native language there, and, if you were an immigrant/visitor to the united states, it would be helpfull to be able to speak your own language, even if it is to help with learning english.
________
my opponent stated that:

My opponent makes statements like "by not teaching other languages in school, we force other countries to speak english, which in turn damages their language and the culture attached to their language."
Since when am I advocating that we stop teaching foreign languages? I am simply advocating that it should be a choice class, an elective. Also, there's nothing forcing them to teach English (just as there's nothing forcing us to teach Spanish, French, or Swahili).

after, in his first speach saying things like:
I thoroughly disagree with my opponent's resolution. Schools should not be forced to teach foreign language. AT ALL.
-----

this contradicts itself. first, the con advocates that there should be NO requirement for schools having to do with second languages whatsoever, and now, says that he is advocating these classes as an elective.

I don't see how i'm going to be able to debate if my opponant continues to change his stance when it suits him.
and,
because my opponent changing his stance every speach would make it impossible for me to debate him, i urge you to vote pro.

______
my opponent said:
My opponent said: "finally, by not teaching second languages, this would almost completely stop immigration, since, our english as a second language classes are, unfortunately, very much lacking in many places, and no one would be able to understand them.(immigrants usually come from countries w/ problems or underdeveloped countries, most of which do not have required english courses, or any at all)"

A> If someone wants to live in country X, they should learn the language of country X, the country should not have to learn theirs.
B> Once again, I am NOT advocating "not teaching foreign languages." I am advocating such classes being electives.
C> This is a reason to better our own ESL classes, not to become a nation that bends over backwards to anyone who doesn't want to learn English. What if someone who speaks Swahili moves here? Are they out of luck, simply because theirs isn't one of the languages we'd be forcing kids to learn? Yes, they are, as is anyone else who thinks we should be learning their language so they can move here. They chose to move here, so they need to deal with the consequences.
----
A.) would it not be easier for them to learn english if there were people who could understand what they were saying in their native language? yes. it would.

B.) again, you can cross-apply my argument about how the con contradicts himself on this point.

C.) i am not advocating that we bend over backwords, i am simply advocating that we make it easier for these people to blend in with everyone else, and, having people who could talk to them in their own language help them learn english would be helpfull to the immigrants/vacationers as well as the economy because things like this would help immigration.

i would not force students to learn swahili, because it is, compared to other languages (english,french,german,spanish) a fairly small language. however, i would not mind seeing swahili classes in highschools.

__________
my opponant also said:
I took Russian and French classes in middle school. Can I still speak more than a few words in these languages? No. Because I, like most people both in and out of school, do not use foreign languages on a regular basis. Whatever languages you force kids to learn in 2-8th grades will soon be forgotten by most of these students. Only those interested in the first place will retain the knowledge, and they would have taken the class as an elective.

----
you remember some though, right? thefore, if a russian or frechman were to come up to you and ask you something, you probably could, after spending some time decyphering what they were saying, understand and possibly help this person. also, by teaching these classes in elementery and middle schools, allow students who find these classes enjoyable(and might not have otherwise taken a 2nd language) to take them, and to propel these students into taking them in highschool.

also, by forcing these classes on the younger students they beleive that they should take these classes in highschool simply because they have been taking them for the last 6 years, and don't (like most students changing schools) like enormous changes.

_______

In conclusion, the reasons why the members who vote on this round will vote Pro are:

1.) if you look to my analysis at the top of this rebuttal and then look through the rebuttal, you can clearly see that i do indeed offer advantages to implementing this policy, therfore there is no reason not to vote pro.

2.) my opponant has shifted his position between his 2nd and 3rd speach, this makes it incredibly difficult to debate, if not impossible, because of this you must vote pro to show that moving targets are a bad thing and should not be allowed.

3.) look back to number 1. i present many advantages to promoting this policy, therfore, since there is now very much a reason to implement this policy there is no reason why you should not vote pro.

thanks for the great debate beem0r and to everyone else: vote pro!
beem0r

Con

Besides making no sense and containing multiple errors in spelling, grammar, meaning, and factual correctness, my opponent's first statement of round 3 truly dazed me.

I've given plenty of reasons why we should not be required to learn foreign languages. I'll get to them later, in a numbered list.

My opponent's first response was about my advocacy of teaching foreign language as an elective in elementary or middle school. There is no reason this would not be plausible; simply have one section of the day be the elective period, and have the kids go to whichever elective class they're taking. It's nothing revolutionary. For example, in 3rd grade, a few others and myself went to a separate class during the math period, since we already knew what was being taught. The same sort of thing could be done with electives. Students signed up for X go to that class, students of Y go to class Y. There's no reason that wouldn't work.

I'll now respond to my opponent's points in the following format. Quoted text will be in >>these<<, my responses will be below the quoted text.

>>i don't doubt that you were able to get around in italy, but, i also don't doubt that you met people there who spoke your native language(english) and that it would have been easier and more enjoyable if you understood what the majority of people were saying.

Because of the fact that knowlege of italian would have helped you, and because people there helped you by speaking your native language i belive that teaching students forign languages would allow them to better enjoy themselves abrod and would allow them to travel easier. Also, i'm sure it was a releif to be able to speak your native language there, and, if you were an immigrant/visitor to the united states, it would be helpfull to be able to speak your own language, even if it is to help with learning english.<<

Some people spoke a little bit of English. They likely did so by choice, since it pays to know English when you work in a touristy place (we only went to touristy places like Rome and Florence). The English they knew was not substantial, either. Regardless, they obviously did not require people to know English as a second language, since there were relatively few who did, and they were usually the store owners and such. And yet, without being forced to take English as kids, the Italians accommodated me just fine.

Your overall point in the above quoted text is that learning a foreign language is helpful, therefore we should be forced to do it. This is madness. It's helpful to eat at least one meal with fish every week, but the Government shouldn't force us to. It's helpful to work 10 hours a day, but we are not nr should we be forced to.

This argument does not work. Just because it is helpful does not mean we should be forced to do it. Not only that, but it's not like we don't lose anything either. It takes a lot of time to learn a 2nd language: time that could be better spent learning something more useful.

Also, it is not our burden to cater to immigrants' language. Just as I bear the burden of learning Spanish if I want to live in rural Mexico, one should also take it upon himself to learn English if he wants to live in the US. If someone comes here and cannot communicate with me, it is not my fault nor my government's. It's unfair and selfish to expect a people to learn YOUR language so YOU can move there, and we should not cater to that kind of nonsense.

>>first, the con advocates that there should be NO requirement for schools having to do with second languages whatsoever, and now, says that he is advocating these classes as an elective.

I don't see how i'm going to be able to debate if my opponant continues to change his stance when it suits him.
and,
because my opponent changing his stance every speach would make it impossible for me to debate him, i urge you to vote pro.<<

Perhaps you did not understand, or my words were not as concise as I hoped they were. We should not be REQUIRED to learn foreign languages AT ALL. They should be elective courses, just like C++ Programming or Woodshop. We should have a CHOICE on whether or not to take them, it should not be a requirement. I have not changed my stance, you have just misinterpreted it. My stance, regardless, it defined by the topic resolution, not words I could easily retract later.

>>A.) would it not be easier for them to learn english if there were people who could understand what they were saying in their native language? yes. it would.

B.) again, you can cross-apply my argument about how the con contradicts himself on this point.

C.) i am not advocating that we bend over backwords, i am simply advocating that we make it easier for these people to blend in with everyone else, and, having people who could talk to them in their own language help them learn english would be helpfull to the immigrants/vacationers as well as the economy because things like this would help immigration.

i would not force students to learn swahili, because it is, compared to other languages (english,french,german,spanish) a fairly small language. however, i would not mind seeing swahili classes in highschools.<<

A> ESL teachers, like translators, would obviously know other languages. Or they would have a translator at their service. Believe it or not, some people know foreign languages without having them shoved down their throats.

B> See above.

C> Being helpful is not a reason for us to require it. It's helpful for students to take woodshop. It's not required. It's helpful to take a debate class. It's not required. It's helpful to take a newspaper class, it's not required. Just because someone would benefit from us learning second languages does not mean it should be required, nor does it mean it's even worth the effort we'd have to make in order to learn their language. Your point is empty.

>>you remember some though, right? thefore, if a russian or frechman were to come up to you and ask you something, you probably could, after spending some time decyphering what they were saying, understand and possibly help this person. also, by teaching these classes in elementery and middle schools, allow students who find these classes enjoyable(and might not have otherwise taken a 2nd language) to take them, and to propel these students into taking them in highschool.

also, by forcing these classes on the younger students they beleive that they should take these classes in highschool simply because they have been taking them for the last 6 years, and don't (like most students changing schools) like enormous changes.<<

I know about 5 words in Russian and probably less in French. None of the words I know in Russian are from when I actually took Russian, they're from techno songs with Russian lyrics I was curious about. The French I know is more from pop culture than from taking French class back in middle school.

Also, your second paragraph worries me. So not only are you advocating forcing students to learn these languages, you're advocating altering the student's later decisions in doing so. Students should only take the language if it piques their interest, not because you've forced them to do it for 6 years already.

Have a numbered list of points:
Forcing kids to learn foreign languages...
1. Wastes time that could be better spent.
2. Is unnecessary, even for those who wish to travel abroad.
3. Does not teach culture in any way that cannot be done easier without learning the language.
4. Delays the time when we will all have one language from coming, when such a time should be sought after. (new point)
5. Only caters to the countries who speak certain select languages.
6. Denies students their choice.
7. Is not needed regardless, since most people take foreign language classes anyway.
8. Shifts the burden from immigrants to US citizens to learn a new language, when it is not our burden to bear.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
Ah...no surprise here. Pro put up a decent fight up until round 3, I think the flow of the debate went above his head.

Most of the debate involved the volleying of the two parties, people who don't speak English and people here who don't speak other languages. While Pro thought it to be a fair counterpoint, each time he volleys the point back, he loses something:

There's a lot more of them than us. Foreign Languages>English. Therefore, it's irrational to use any of those examples as points.

::click Con::
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