Will Karl Rove use High School Debate Moves on John Edwards?

According to The Buffalo News, John Edwards and Karl Rove are slated to debate at the University of Buffalo on September 26. And while much has been said about Edwards' ability as a trial lawyer and the millions he's racked up, not enough has been said about Karl Rove's skill as a high school debater. Here's journalist Wayne Slater in a PBS interview on one of Rove's tactics, used to intimidate 9th grade competition.

"Karl Rove was not only the best debater in Olympus High School, but also one of the best debaters in Utah when he was in high school. He went to a lot of competitions with other schools. One of the things he was good at was talking off the cuff and developing enormously skilled responses to the other guys, something we see even these days.

Picture 23.pngThe other thing he understood, though, was you intimidate the person from the beginning. What can you do to scare your opponent before the debate even comes across? Now, in those days, what students did was bring in a shoebox or a small box full of debate cards, and these were cards that basically said what your position was so that you would refer to those during the course of the debate.

The other side would have a box. So he'd bring in two. The other side might have two. And over time, he'd bring in four. Ultimately he and his colleague would bring in on a dolly, on a hand cart, a giant box of thousands and thousands of debate cards as if to scare and intimidate the other side, thinking, my gosh, this is a debater of enormous reputation, a debater who is obviously well prepared and better prepared than I am. Rove would put these boxes in front of him on the desk and then start out on the debate. Well, [what] nobody knew until years later was that almost all of these cards were blank. It was a show of intimidation, and Rove usually won."

I really hope he recycles the strategy, and shows up to the event Imelda Marcos-style. Of course, the other story I just find hilarious is Rove's high school campaign to become President of his Student Senate. Whether you like Rove or not, you have to admit the gimmick was genius. It's the 4th question Slater answers here and definitely worth reading.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
iStock
iStock

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
North America: East or West Coast?
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios