The first week of June featured the annual Urban Debate League Directors and Staff Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The week featured meetings, workshops and best practices from across over 20 urban debate leagues across the nation. Also, incredible news of two new urban debate leagues starting in Miami and Silicon Valley!
It was a very inspiring week considering you had over 20 cities, millions of debate rounds experiences, thousands of debate tournaments of experiences and best practices, tens of thousands of debaters represented, and some of the most incredible debate teachers, staff and directors in the nation gathered together to learn from each other so that we can provide the best debate education to all students. So thank you to all the urban debate leagues out there for all the incredible and inspiring work that you do. Thank you to the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues for making this conference possible and accessible to all. Thank you everyone for your passion, commitment and tireless work to bring debate to all youth.
What is Urban Debate (National Urban Debate League's Association Website)
Debate is an academic sport that builds reading, research, communication and critical thinking skills. Each year high school debaters throughout the country debate a single complex policy question, or resolution, for an entire year. In 2014-15, students are debating whether the federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth's oceans. To see a list of past national topics, click here.
Coached by teachers, debaters conduct extensive research on the resolution and develop arguments for and against it. Debaters hone their arguments in after school practices and compete at weekend tournaments. Two-person teams participate in a series of 75-minute debates and each team alternates sides, arguing for the resolution in one round and against it in the next.
Competitive debate has always been available to students at suburban schools, but twenty years ago it disappeared from more cash-strapped urban public schools. Urban debate programs level the playing field, giving urban students access to the same academically rigorous debate programs available to their suburban peers. NAUDL supports a network of urban debate in nineteen cities around the country. Last year these programs served 8,452 urban high school and middle school students. Eighty-six percent of urban debaters are students of color and 76% are from low-income families.