National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

Our Work
The National Association for Urban Debate Leagues closes the achievement gap in urban public schools by giving urban students the opportunity to compete in academic debate. Our urban debate programs serve 10,154 students in 22 cities across the United States. 76% of urban debaters are from low-income families and 86% are students of color.

What is Debate?
Each year high school debaters throughout the country debate a single complex policy question, or resolution, for an entire year. This year students will debate whether the United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance. Debaters conduct extensive research on the resolution and develop arguments for and against in after-school practices and compete in two-person teams in a series of 75-minute debates.

Our Results
Through independent, peer-reviewed research, we know that urban debate works. It gives minority students from low-income families the tools they need to succeed.

Urban Debaters Succeed in High School
African American and Hispanic students in urban schools have little more than a 50% chance of graduating from high school. Urban debate keeps students in school. It engages them by giving them opportunities for hands-on learning that are often not available in their public school classrooms and by challenging them to solve real-world problems.

Urban Debaters Succeed in College
Eighty-five percent of urban debaters attend college. Urban debaters are 89% more likely than non-debaters to attend a four-year college or university and 80% more likely to graduate.

Urban Debaters are prepared to succeed in Twenty-first Century Careers
To compete effectively in the global economy, twenty-first century workers will need to master four important skills and Urban debate teaches all of these skills. Debaters learn to think critically. Debaters learn to communicate effectively. Debaters learn to be creative. Debaters learn to collaborate.




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