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The Urban Debate Theory of Change

The Urban Debate Theory of Change describes in detail how debate develops the skills needed for academic success.

Making the Case for Teaching Students to Debate

Click here to read the article.

2014-15 Shelby DEBATE High School Tournament 1

The first tournament of the 2014-15 debate season will be held at Overton High School on Saturday, September 20, 2014.  The day begins with breakfast at 7:30 am and Round 1 at 8:30 am.

Now Accepting Monthly Donations!

Our program depends on the generosity of the community in which we serve.  To make giving easier, our program now offers you the ability to make small monthly donations to our program via your credit card automatically.  Use the drop down menu below to select your level of giving then click on the “Subscribe” button.  It is easy and simple.  Thank you for your generous support.

Monthly Donation Options




New Study Shows Urban Debate Keeps At-Risk Youth in School

A new study by Susannah Anderson and Briana Mezuk shows that among adolescents who are the most at risk of not graduating high school, participation in debate leads to significantly higher graduation rates and better grades and ACT scores.

Anderson and Mezuk compared academic results for debaters against those of non-debating students, based on risk indicators that measured poverty (free lunch status, neighborhood poverty) and learning challenges (special education status, low 8th grade standardized test scores).

Overall, debaters were three times more likely to graduate than non-debaters. The most dramatic difference was seen among the highest risk students, with 72% of debaters graduating compared with 43% of students who did not debate.

The study also measured the impact of intensity of participation (number of rounds debated) and competitive success (ratio of wins to total rounds debated) on academic performance. Not surprisingly, both quantity and quality of participation significantly increased the likelihood of graduation and performance on the ACT.

To read the complete study CLICK HERE

Watch The Memphis Urban Debate League Mini-Documentary:

I Have A Voice (Password is: ilovedebate)