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President George W. Bush Addresses High School Students Participating In Inaugural Bush Institute Economic Debates

February 1, 2013 5 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

Weekend of debates highlights the importance of economic education and debate in a free market society

DALLAS — The George W. Bush Institute sponsored a weekend of economic debates on October 20-21, in partnership with the St. Mark’s School of Texas and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. President George W. Bush praised the high school students, teachers and volunteer judges who participated in the debates, and he congratulated the competitors for bringing reasoned arguments and respectful discourse to the economic growth conversation. “It’s important for the next generation to understand the promise of free enterprise and economic freedom,” said President George W. Bush. “We believe that encouraging this kind of debate and dialogue will produce future leaders, and it just may be that a soul participating in this weekend will end up having the highest honor possible – being the President of the greatest nation ever.” President Bush delivered his remarks Saturday night at a dinner honoring the student debate teams participating in the inaugural Bush Institute Economic Debates, which included more than 100 public school students from the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. Awards were given to the day’s top performers and the students who made it to the quarter finals met privately with the former President. On Sunday, October 21, students already participating in the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament joined the finalists from the Saturday debates for several more rounds of debate. Winners were declared and final awards were given to outstanding participants. These students represent the highest level of high school debate from around the country. “The Presidential Debates showed Americans love debate,” said Amity Shlaes, Director of the 4% Percent Project. “We all have an inner debater and this project is supposed to bring out that debater in more young people. The Bush Economic Debates aim to give more debaters more time to debate and to give them some time to focus on the one area so important to America’s future – economic policy. With great partners like Director Nicole Serrano of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, Coach Tim Mahoney of St. Mark’s, Professor Ben Voth of SMU, and well-respected members of the community serving as volunteer judges, this partnership can set the pattern for a new tradition of economic debate.” The Bush Institute Economic Debates are planned to be an annual gathering that brings debaters from around the country to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to test their knowledge and skills. And the unique partnership with St. Mark’s and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance ensures that the best and brightest from DFW and the nation will have a chance to compete. The Bush Institute Economic Debates are an initiative of the Bush Institute’s 4% Growth Project. The debates are important because studies show that debaters represent the subgroup most likely to be influential leaders in the future. Research shows that at risk children graduate high school more frequently and score better on standardized tests if they have debated, even for a short while. Encouraging debate teaches young people how to lead in the first place.

About the 4% Growth Project The 4% Growth Project is a Bush Institute initiative that seeks to get growth in the national conversation by targeting a  real, sustained GDP growth of four percent annually, a level that will ensure Americans better jobs and lower debt, and vastly increase opportunity and prosperity. Directed by Amity Shlaes, a Bush Institute senior fellow and author of The Forgotten Man and The Greedy Hand, the project aims to change the economic conversation in America to focus on growth and to spur research and develop initiatives that will help accelerate America’s economic growth. The most effective way to remain competitive and address the world’s economic issues is to grow the economy at a healthy, robust and sustainable rate. While aggressive, four percent growth is an attainable goal that America has achieved numerous times in the recent past. Four percent, rather than the current projections of 2.0-2.5 percent growth, should not merely be a goal, but the expectation.  

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