The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The spelling bee should be removed.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,440 times Debate No: 37809
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing about why spelling bees (particularly Scripps National Spelling Bee) should cease to exist. There are a number of problems with spelling bees, which I will adress in the second round

This round for acceptance.


Although I disagree with this, I wanted to say that you shouldn't use the first round as a filibuster for a lack of a point or argument. I believe that you should've proven your point and backed it up with your beliefs in why you think that spelling bees should no longer be allowed. None the less, I will present my argument in an arbitrary fashion on account of me not knowing why you do not favor spelling bees.

Spelling bees are not graded, they're simply tests of your ability to spell complex (apparent to your grade level) words. These 'bees' are done to see where students are in their ability to interpret and spell words. Not just their ability to phonetically pronounce and henceforth spell the word, but to apply this knowledge in a fluent fashion to a paper, project, etc. I do agree, in some aspects, that a spelling bee should be an optional program hosted by a school for a school for students to see their own position when it comes to their ability to spell, but I do not think that spelling bees should be outlawed all together.
Debate Round No. 1


I am not talking about small spelling bees within school; I am particularly referring to the National bee and all bees leading up to it. This bee is hosted in DC, supported by the government, and is even broadcast on ESPN.

- The spelling bee promotes the complexities of the English language. Ever wondered why there are so many illiterate people out there? It's because the English language has the hardest spelling system of any language (not counting languages with picture symbols, like Chinese). Reforms have been done for the Spanish, Italian, German, and even French languages, and we are in desperate need for a spelling reform in English. Spelling bees are typically given only in English and French, as other languages are simply too predictable. The spelling bee pays kids for continuing to support a broken spelling system. Some say it is the main reason why we haven't reformed our language (look up "Enuf is enuf, enough is too much").

- What makes a word hard? "Hard" is an arbitrary term. A spelling bee champ can win the school-level by spelling "virtue", while other contestants had to spell "visualize" and "photosynthesis" along the way. I know this from watching an actual spelling bee when I was in elementary.

- What is an English word? Many of the terms given in the Spelling bee (especially in the Nationals) are long, technical words that Shakespeare would have used, or non-assimilated foreign words, some of which have umlauts and """ marks.

- More importantly, what is a word? The longest word in the spelling guide was "antidisestablismentarianism", which was an old political party in England, but now is only used when talking about the word itself. It's basically a word for the purpose of having a word.

- Some uncommon words are homophones with more common words. When I did the spelling bee, I lost on "humerus". I originally thought they said "humorous", as in funny, but after getting out, I was told they were talking about the bone, "humerus".

- Spelling bee contestants peak soon since the requirements shut out all high-school students and even those in middle school who take high-school-level (i.e. GATE) classes. Sports players, musicians, and scientists get to perform all throughout their lifespan.

- Also, people enjoy watching sports and listening to music, and most of us like scientific achievements, like medicine, airplanes, and iPads. Although it's great to spell well, people shouldn't really be bragging about spelling the way they do. It makes you sound like a pretentious know-it-all who uses big words just to sound smarter.


Thank you for taking time to present a well organized reply to my previous affirmation in round one.

First off I'd like to point out that your losing in the spelling bee was due to a simple mistake. Asking for the definition of 'humerus' could've made all the difference. In this case, it was an accident that got you out. Although I do understand that it seems pointless to test you on two words that are the same phonetically, it is needed to assure that the contestant knows the word and can recognize it as a homophone. That's two birds with one stone.

Second, I'd like to also inform you that spelling bees held at national/state/regional etc. levels are all optional and do not require any forced participation. If this really is your arguement then this could be compared to saying you don't like potatos because they taste bad to you, and yet that's just your opinion. The spelling bee is not something you have to participate in. If you do not agree with it, you shouldn't interact with the program all together.

Finally, I do agree that some words are completely outragous and I completely agree that some words in the English language are NOT words that should be in a spelling bee. I got out on the word 'hors d'oeuvre'. It's French, and yet it's pronounced 'ôr dûrv'. I can understand the point your making, and I think an amendment should be made in this aspect.
Debate Round No. 2


I forgot to mention that I won a school spelling bee (a different one) and went to the regional bee (lost 2nd round). The pronouncer (possibly a Canadian) used unfamiliar pronunciations of certain words, like "gondola" and "bratwurst". Since regional and even family pronunciations differ, it's impossible to conduct a fair non-local spelling bee without having multiple speakers or multiple readings of the word. A New Yorker's "artistic" is a Californian "Autistic"; A New Yorker's "Autistic" is a Californian's "Or-Tistic".

When watching the national bee, there were many French and German words that weren't even in any of the Study guides, much worse than "h'ors d'oeuvres". Even words from more bizzare languages, like Russian, were present. Many spelling bee contestants prepare by studying a bit of Latin and Greek, but it may be hard to extend the range to Russian.

Of course, it should be challenging, but there is such a thing as too much.


I agree with the points you have brought up, but that does not mean that we should completely do away with the spelling bee program, it should simply be amended to allow contestants to listen to the judges before they begin and allow them to state if the judge is able to be heard clearly. I don't have much an arguement here and I apologize in that reguard, but it is the final round and I would like to say thank you for being my first opponent here at, you proposed a good argument and I found that you were a tough instigator.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by mikicat10 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had more convincing arguments