This morning WYPR ran a great story about the changing dynamics of high school debate teams.
The Eddie Conway Liberation Institute, run by the advocacy group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (part of the Baltimore United for Change coalition, and OSI-Baltimore Justice Fund grantee) teaches students the core debate skills of in-depth, critical policy discussions and how to form and substantiate an argument. African American students are encouraged to bring their own experiences of social justice and black identity into the competition.
The story also mentions origins and importance of urban debate leagues, which began in earnest in the 1990’s with seed funding by Open Society Institute as part of a national education reform movement.
The Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) was founded in 1999 when OSI-Baltimore brought together three institutions–Towson University, Glenn Pelham Memorial Fund at Emory University and the Fund for Educational Excellence–to work in partnership with the Baltimore City School System.
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 OsF’s website, Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, uses BUDL as an example of a program that helps build student achievement.