"...Competitive urban debate is almost uniquely suited to building what’s been called the “Four C’s” of 21st century skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. And to that list I might add a fifth “C”—for civic awareness and engagement." -Arne Duncan, Former U.S. Secretary of Education, "The Power of Debate—Building the Five “C’s” for the 21st Century"
Debate gives students the skills they need to succeed. Debaters read and synthesize sophisticated materials on complex public policy issues. In a debate tournament, students must link evidence from research to every one of their arguments. These skills—high-level reading, critical thinking, and evidence-based argumentation—are critical to students’ college and career success.
Debate improves students’ academic performance and graduation rates. Independent peer-reviewed and published studies demonstrate that participation in competitive debate leads to higher GPAs, higher graduation rates, and better college-readiness (based on ACT scores). Debaters are 300% more likely to graduate high school, and 80% more likely to graduate college than their peers. This is true for students across the academic spectrum.
Debate is an engaging, student-centered activity. Rather than imparting knowledge through lectures, coaches engage students in learning games and debate exercises. Coaches direct students in research activities, while students collaborate to build their knowledge of debate subtopics. This time commitment, along with the academic rigor of debate training, is uniquely effective in improving student outcomes.
Debate promotes college success. The research proves that debate is a powerful strategy to prepare students for college. Our alumni tell us that debate introduced them to the possibility of college success, inspired them to go to college, and helped them get the scholarships they needed to access college.
Debate enhances students civic understanding and engagement. Debate engages students in a deliberative, structured process of learning, critical thinking, and dialogue on important and complex public policy issues. Our students tell us that debate empowers them to voice their ideas and inspires them to learn more about the world. As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Competitive debate is nurturing a new generation of engaged, committed citizens.”
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. 2255 East Evans Avenue Suite 406, Denver, CO 80210
Executive Director, Jessica Clark JessicaClark@urbandebate.org Phone: 303-871-6575