Focus and Detail
For this assignment, I will be closely examining focus and detail. 
The best advice is to choose a very limited topic.  Try to pick one that will affect the reader .

Possible Topics

1. This school has an attendance policy that allows students to miss five days a semester before losing credit.  Some people feel that the school should base students' grades entirely on their work.  Others support this policy because they feel that high absences will lead to poorer grades.  (This prompt may be modified for the tardy policy.)

2. Many schools have
closed their campus for lunch making students remain and not leave the school.  Some people want a closed campus because students are tardy back to class and may get in trouble during their lunch.  Others believe that high school students are old enough to leave the school, deserve freedom, and need opportunity to prove they are responsible.   

3. With cloning and scientific development, future parents will be allowed to
choose the sex of their children.  Some people believe that this is a legitimate service to provide parents.  Others warn that messing with the natural order of things has seldom lacked unforeseen consequences. 

4. A debate has been developing over the
possession of cell phones in schools.  Some argue that students should have cell phones for the calculator, so they can contact their parents if they get sick or if there is an emergency.  Others argue that cell phones distract others, can be used inappropriately and that text messaging is disruptive.

5. Some schools have been forced to abandon school dances over the controversy of
freak dancing (lap dancing, but standing up).  People against it have noted that since a person on the street can be arrested for lewd behavior, it shouldn't be allowed in school.  Others see it as freedom of expression.

6. Many people are concerned about the use of
rainforest woods in the making of furniture and in the housing industry.  Others view rainforest wood as a renewable resource and see no problem with cutting these trees.  Do you feel that we should or should not use this wood source?

7. Students at a local high school have been caught smelling like alcohol at a school sponsored dance.  The principal has ordered, "students who smell like alcohol" will have their car searched for alcohol containers.  Parents and students feel it is illegal to
search cars without a search warrant.  The school argues they have a right to search cars in the parking lot since they are on school property. 

8. Many countries are changing to
renewable energy forms such as ethanol instead of gasoline.  Some people see this as the way of the future because it could allow the US to reduce or eliminate our dependency on foreign oil while creating a market and jobs in the US.  Others do not believe such alternatives can provide or meet our current energy needs let alone the increased demands of the future. 

9. Obesity has become a challenge for millions of Americans.  Physicians are pointing to the lack of physical activity as one of the leading causes of this dilemma.  Some directly relate
obesity to computers and computer gaming.  Opponents of this view state that computers and computer games are becoming a vital part of our lives and provide not only information but also communication, organization and hand and eye coordination. 

10. A recent news story reported the expulsion of several junior high students for possession of tobacco on school grounds.  The tobacco was found when the principal ordered the custodians to
cut the locks on several students' lockers.  The students argued in the hearing the search was illegal since it was carried out without a search warrant.  The school argued that said students were minors and therefore were acting in the role of guardian and parents. 

11. Many schools have chosen not to buy certain novels for reasons of violence, inappropriate language, or explicit sexual content.  Some people believe that this amounts to censorship.  Others defend it, saying that it is not really censorship when students who really want the materials can freely purchase them.  They say that the claim of censorship is phony. 

12. Many people believe this school should enforce its
dress code.  Some people believe that students shouldn't wear revealing clothes that would be inappropriate for a workplace.  Other people believe that students should be able to express their individuality through their clothing.

13. Some people believe that
the smoking age should be raised to twenty-one.  They believe that while eighteen-year-olds are likely to give cigarettes to their fifteen-year-old friends, a legal adult would be less likely to do so.  Other people believe that a person is old enough to vote and join the military at eighteen, and they should be old enough to make other decisions as well. 

14. Some people believe that
prisoners should get only educational TV.  They believe prison should be punishment or rehabilitation, not lazing around watching the tube.  Others disagree, and say that prison is stressful enough and that people in there should be able to relax in their cells at the end of a day. 

Other Possible Topics

We should / should not use capital punishment for murder, kidnapping, and rape.
College athletes should / should not get any special treatment.
WWF should / should not be disbanded.
This school should / should not require uniforms.
People should / should not be able to talk about religion in public.
People should / should not be able to burn the flag without any consequences.
Minorities should / should not get into college with lower scores than Whites.
Students should / should not be able to eat whatever they want in the lunchroom.
Parents should / should not be legally responsible when their children become obese.
All drugs should / should not be legal.
Drug dealers should / should not get longer sentences.
Kids should / should not be allowed to be as lazy as they want.
Gym should / should not be a required course.
Each student should / should not be required to take ten years of a foreign language.
People should / should not vote third party.
Music should / should not be a required course.
Parents should / should not be required to teach certain things before kindergarten (ABCs, potty-training, colors, shapes, etc). 
People should / should not be able to inherit wealth.
People should / should not be required to make a will.
The minimum wage should / should not be raised.
People should / should not use the government to try to control others' lives.
The USA should / should not become vegetarian.
All kids should / should not have curfews.
Hunting should / should not be outlawed.
Fur should / should not be outlawed.
Boxing should / should not be outlawed.
________ should / should not be taken off TV.
Little kids should / should not be allowed to eat whatever they want; forcing them to eat nutritionally violates their freedom.
Intelligence is an inherited trait.
People should / should not show their emotions.
Art isn't as important as athletics.
Schools should / should not save money by not  building gyms or buying athletic equipment.
Most students are unable to detect propaganda in film.
School grade-levels should / should not be based on ability, not  age.
Parents' expectations of their children are too low.
We should / should not stop burning oil.
Cars should / should not be banned in cities.
Everyone should / should not write out his or her own ethical code.
People should / should not be forced to recycle.

Other topics

…good topics for writing were usually not the hugest ones the kids could think of.  I knew that topics like "my family" or "childhood" or "love" or "success" were most likely not going to be successful for student writers.

Randy Bomer
Time for Meaning pg 71

Think small. The best things to write about are often the tiniest things - your brother's junk drawer, something weird your dog once did, your grandma's loose, wiggly neck, changing a dirty diaper, the moment you realized you were too old to take a bath with your older brother.

Ralph Fletcher

Here is a rule that another teacher put on his website to keep his students from writing vague thesis statements: 
Students in this class are absolutely forbidden to write a thesis that makes "any kind of claim about Society, The History of Mankind, People Since the Beginning of Time, All the People of the World, Everyone Who Ever Lived, etc."

Michael Barsanti

There are many topics that affect thousands or even millions of people, such as abortion, racism, gun control, or AIDS.  If you choose one of these, your writing should lead the reader from a broad, impersonal topic to details that are specific, personal, or in some other way can engage the reader.  If you can't think of any, then ask yourself why you are writing about this topic. 


Don't write an opinion about a topic as broad as
Racism...

Unless you can include details such as   
A specific incident of racism you have witnessed

Also: Avoid topics that will turn into lists:
    All the equipment needed for horses / to scuba dive / to repair bikes. 
    All the people in the band / on the team / who played James Bond.