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News from the World of Urban Debate

  Updates from the Associated Leaders of Urban Debate
  Your Voice. Your Future. Debate.     November 2006  - Vol 1, Issue 1

In This Issue

The Associated Leaders of Urban Debate (ALOUD) partner communities have been hard at work introducing young minds to the powers of debate. In this issue, we report about the international connections being made in Austin, hip hop debate partnerships in Seattle, civic discourse at work in Newark and the use of comic books as curriculum in Baltimore. We also touch on recent developments and study breakthroughs in Minneapolis and Miami. The work of this movement is diverse and growing. We hope you enjoy this update and look forward to your joining in this critical effort to assist young people in need.

Minneapolis Study Shows Debate Key to Success

An independent study examining a group of debaters in the Minneapolis Urban Debate League vs a group of nondebaters found measurable differences suggesting that debate plays a significant role in academic achievement.

 The North Hills high test conducted by Dr. Linda Collier built on earlier work done in the field in 2004 in a national study. In this local setting, the study revealed that:

Debaters improved their reading scores by more than 61% in a single year. 87% of debaters were better able to analyze information than their control counterparts. Debaters average 15% higher self-esteem than controls; the longer they debate, the wider the differential. Returning debaters averaged a .13 increase in their GPAs in contrast to returning controls who lost an average of .10 points on a 4.0 scale. Debaters also tested substantially better in terms of post-secondary plans, likelihood to engage in risk- taking behavior and drop out rates.

These statistics bolster ALOUD's claim that the accelerated learning process of debate provides unqiue benefits beyond many other literacy programs.

Learn More About the Minneapolis Urban Debate League

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Seattle Merges Hip Hop & Debate to Empower Teens

High school students from the Seattle Urban Debate League debated disaster relief to examine racial, class, and cultural inequalities in the United States. Students voiced their own views and experiences and evidenced proposals for addressing structural inequalities in the United States. Audience members adjudicated the debate and shared their thoughts on the arguments presented from the perspective of parents, youth, educators, and administrators. The students demonstrated the power of civic discourse through their active participation in this dialogue. The conference entitled Politics of Power: Race, Class, Education, Hip Hop, and Hurricane Katrina brought together scholars, teachers, and students as well as community partners to discuss the pedagogical implications of race in higher education.

The Seattle Debate Foundation (SDF) runs the Seattle Urban Debate League which creates and sustains informal and empowering learning communities for Seattle area's underserved populations. Events include weekend debate tournaments, public/street debates, rap battles, and summer workshops. This summer, the SDF became the first Urban Debate League in the country to fully incorporate Hip Hop throughout the curriculum as an alternative mode of presentation for students to use in their 90-minute evidenced based debate rounds. The goal was to create a more inclusive politics that values the richness and voices of all cultures and forms of expression. Dozens of Hip Hop artists from around the Pacific Northwest and California, volunteered their time to participate in panel discussions and teach hands-on Hip Hop Skills workshops.

Learn more about the Seattle Urban Debate League

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Austin Inaugurates International Rap Debates

The Hip Hop debate world has now been internationalized and energized through video conferences. These video conferences allow students to exchange ideas and use their higher level thinking skills. Event organizer and Austin ALOUD partner, Michael Cunningham explained that bringing Hip Hop to the International Debate Community was one of the most interesting things that has come to debate in many years. He explained that the Video Hip Hop Competitions will use a modified format. All constructive speeches and rebuttal speeches will be rapped. The only thing that is not rapped are the cross examination questions and answers.

The first of scores of Hip- Hop/ Rap debates will begin with Westchester New York High School and Del Valle High School Nov. 9, 2006. This debate will be followed by Hip- Hop Debates with Tunaskolen in Lulea, Sweden (Nov. 14); Reber School in Tbilisi, Georgia (Nov. 17) and school 1129 in Moscow, Russia (Nov. 17).

Cunningham explained that this format allows for real debate across the curriculum, tying foreign language teachers, English teachers, speech/debate teachers, geography/history teachers, and music teachers together and working together to accomplish something on the international level.

Read more about the Austin UDL

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Miami Urban Debate League Participants Honored

University of Miami’s President Donna Shalala entered the Whitten Learning Center Room to congratulate a group of promising students. While these students do not attend the University of Miami, they represent a growing educational movement in the center in which U of M plays a significant role. The Miami- Dade Urban Debate League is an arm of this organization, serving students of the Miami-Dade Public School system. Since December of 2005, the University of Miami has hosted a number of MDUDL events, including two summer camps. The Bay Point Schools sent 45 boys to sharpen their skills in policy debate, computer research proficiency, public speaking, and argument construction while exercising critical thinking. They argued the pros and cons of national service, discussing organizations like the military, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps. The goal of the Miami Urban Debate League aims to make policy debate accessible for all students despite race, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Learn more about Miami Urban Debate League ...

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Baltimore Urban Debate League Develops Comic Book Curriculum

The Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) is proud to announce its Debate Comix Initiative! Educators all over the world are beginning to explore comics as an exciting and effective learning tool. BUDL & Debate Comix are at the forefront.

The goal is the creation of an entire line of educational & fun comics focused on generating interest in and knowledge of debate. With staff guiding the project, BUDL has involved and encouraged students to take the lead as writers and artists. The initial publications have used debate superheroes and villains to achieve this goal; others will be slice-of-life and biographical stories about the debate & life experiences of our students. BUDL got a head start on the debate comics series for the 2006-07 season with a distribution of our first comic “Evidence Man Speaks on the Power of T” at a free comic book and public debate day at Comics Kingdom in Baltimore this Spring. A summer comix retreat brought together students from BUDL and other UDLs for three days of creative story and character development. The comics will be distributed to our students and sold to other interested parties.

More News From Baltimore Urban Debate League

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Jersey Urban Debate League Hosts 100 Days Forum

The Jersey Urban Debate League in partnership with ALOUD's Campaign for Civic Discourse held a panel discussion on October 26th about the first 100 days of Corey Booker's administration. The event was held at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University. Panelists examined and evaluated performance in each area of Mayor Booker's 100 Days Plan. This event futhered the mission of the Campaign for Civic Discourse which aims to bring together organizations, corporations, foundations, school systems, and individuals working to spur civic engagement, public debate, and reasoned discourse in our schools, religious institutions, and in our larger society.

The panelists includedMs. Vivian Cox-Fraser (President of the Urban League of Essex County), Mr. Rene Daida (Program Officer for the Prudential Foundation), Dean Marc Holzer (Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration), Mr. Casto Maldonado (President and CEO of FOCUS - The Hispanic Center for Community Development) and a representative from the Newark City Council. Additionally, students from Newark's high school debate teams posed questions to the panelists.

Learn more about JUDL ...

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Coming Soon!

Watch for news on new partners in Milwaukee and elsewhere and major developments around the network in communities like New York, Atlanta & Rhode Island. In future issues, we will also bring you news on ALOUD's initiatives including the National Campaign for Civic Discourse, Virtual College Partnerships,and the National Awards for Debate Excellence.

The Associated Leaders of Urban Debate are headqaurtered in New York in conjunction with the Improving Mentor Practices and Communication Techniques Coalition.

Support the IMPACT Coalition

        Thanks to all our partners for their dedication and hard work to promote urban debate. Next issue will feature the exploits of other partners across the country. If you know of interesting work that's hapenning using debate, please email us.

Peace & Justice,
Associated Leaders of Urban Debate

 phone: 212-702-0944

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