Benefits of Debate

Welcome to the world of debate – the most rigorous academic program. The New York City Urban Debate League has received local and national honors as one of the nation’s most rigorous academic programs – 40 weekends of debate tournaments during the school year, debate institutes all summer, debate practices every day after school, debate classes every day during school, and college visits every month – a student will double their academic learning time through debate.

Why debate? Scholastic debate since Ancient Greece has been the most rigorous academic program. Debate improves academic performance (debaters earn higher grades than their peers, have higher attendance rates, and are more likely to test as college ready in English, Reading, Math and Science). Debate improves graduation rates (90% of urban debaters graduate on time). Debate prepares students for college (89% of urban debaters attend college). Debate prepares students for 21st century careers (debate teaches critical thinking and problem solving, research, communication, collaboration and creativity). Debate inspires political and civic engagement. Debaters are more likely to vote, volunteer for a campaign, or run for office. This list includes over a dozen Presidents, the majority of Supreme Court Justices (including the first Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall), governors, mayors, civil rights, social and community activists.

As President Obama stated “Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.”