There’s a great story in this week’s City Paper about how the debate renaissance among Baltimore city students has helped prepare a new generation of activist leaders at a time when Baltimore needs them most. One of the key groups described in the story is the Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL), which, as BUDL’s website describes, was “founded in 1999 as part of a national initiative driven by the Open Society Institute to transform public education by bring debate back to the urban classroom.”
In 2013, Open Society Foundations produced an 8-minute video that portrays how the BUDL model builds self-esteem and improves graduation rates and access to higher education. In a 2013 blog post on ODF’s website, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, uses BUDL as an example of a program that helps build student achievement.
“As the Baltimore Urban Debate League has shown, solutions exist,” she wrote. “We just need to take the time to identify and implement alternatives that give students needed support—and the chance to dream big.”