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The Urban Debate League of the Twin Cities

For many students, participation in debate is not just an extracurricular activity; it?s a life-changing experience. Good students and underachievers, alike, often thrive on self-directed activities involving critical thinking and analysis. Those intimidated by public speaking learn to confidently express their thoughts and ideas. Students with limited prospects for the future reinvent themselves as college-bound, high school graduates. Virtually every debater acquires skills that open doors for a lifetime.

In the Twin Cities, debate programs flourish in private and suburban schools, but they are noticeably absent in inner city schools. Of the fifteen urban high schools, only one offers policy debate, and two offer value debate (Lincoln Douglas). This situation must be addressed.

The goal of the Urban Debate League of the Twin Cities is to bring debate back to our inner city public schools and, ultimately, to revitalize Minnesota?s tradition of influencing public policy. This program addresses critical budget issues in the public school system by offering support to an under-served population: self-learners who thrive on challenging, competitive opportunities to demonstrate their abilities in a non-traditional setting. In view of the pressure facing schools to improve performance, administrators across the country welcome this opportunity, and teachers find it enhances the overall classroom experience for their students. (See links to other UDLs.)

Urban debate programs have had remarkable success in 13 major metropolitan areas across the nation, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Newark, Providence. Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, the District of Columbia., and St. Louis. By building on their experience, we are developing an Urban Debate Program that will serve our community for generations.

For further information, please contact:
Karon Garen