Thank you, CCDU intern staff and members – 2019 PDP Outreach Championships!

Thanks to members of the Debate Union for their outstanding work managing the MSPDP and HSPDP Debate Outreach Championships on April 27-28. More than 1,200 debaters, coaches, judges, and guests attended the tournaments on the championship weekend. The MSPDP and HSPDP are national debate leagues founded and maintained by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union.

The Middle School Southwest Regional Championship was held at Mout San Antonio College on Saturday, April 27. More than 130 teams from 10 leagues qualified to participate at the tournament. Ella Hanry, Rowan Macy, and Matthew Reale-Hatem had major roles administering operations for attending teams and guests. In the competition, Oakwood School defeated Colina Middle School on a 2-1 decision in the Grand Final Debate to win the 2019 championship. In addition to the regional championship, they will share national championship honors with the other MSPDP regional winners. All students debated the following topics (pre-announced) at the event:

  • The First Amendment should not protect lying in campaigns and elections.
  • Expand Social Security to provide an adequate retirement.
  • Eliminate farm subsidies!
  • Autonomous weapon systems do more good than harm.
  • The US President should serve a single 6-year term

Students in the championship debate argued the following topic:

  • Facial recognition technology does more harm than good.

The High School National Debate Championship was held at the International School of Los Angeles on Sunday, April 28. Ella Henry, Sydney Baffour, and Gonzalo Secaira served prominent roles as tournament tabulation and administrative staff and other members of the Debate Union judged at the competition.

The Webb Schools defeated the International School of Los Angeles on a 2-1 decision in the Grand Final Debate to win the 2019 championship. HSPDP tournaments feature a mix of research-based pre-announced topics, known for several weeks prior to a competition. Students also debate impromptu topics on enduring controversies and current events, which are announced 30 minutes prior to the beginning of those debates. All students debated the following topics:

  • The First Amendment should not protect disparaging and threatening trademarks. (pre-announced)
  • Soldiers should be able to opt out of specific conflicts for moral reasons. (pre-announced)
  • Inmates in prisons and jails should be allowed to vote. (impromptu)
  • Citizenship should be a privilege, not a right. (impromptu)

High school students in the championship debate argued the following topic:

  • In the US, small states have too much power.

The CCDU will host a college PDP championship, Saturday-Sunday, January 25-26, 2020. This is the second year of college-level PDP competition. École de Guerre, the French war college, was the 2019 tournament champion. The top-ranked US team (representing the second-place Claremont Colleges team) also won tickets to a Lupe Fiasco concert in Los Angeles. HSPDP high school teams may also participate in the event; there are separate awards for high school contestants.

The primary differences from other debate formats include team number and members (two 3-person teams), use of POIs and argumentative heckling, integration of pre-announced, research-based topics and impromptu topics, judge certification, and a comprehensive 100-point standards-based assessment rubric for individual speaker scores and awards.

Members of the Debate Union are eligible to participate in the PDP championship.

The Debate Union sponsors the Public Debate Program (PDP), debate and public speaking training for secondary school students. Programming includes hundreds of thousands of teachers and students in 36 countries. Members of the Debate Union serve as staff for academic year and summer teacher and student workshops, direct and tabulate tournaments, administer PDP operations, and judge competitive events. Events are usually 1-day, either a Saturday or Sunday. Debating is in English, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

The Debate Union directly supports the Southern California High School Public Debate Program (HSPDP), several Southern California middle school leagues – Golden West Debate League, Inland Valley Debate League, Pacific Coast Debate League, Rancho California Debate League, and Temecula Valley Debate League, as well as the middle school Hoosier State Debate League in Indianapolis. The CCDU provides annual and indirect support for many other leagues and schools, including the newest program, HSPDP-Panama.

There are opportunities to volunteer for PDP competitions throughout the year. The Southern California high school schedule includes the following tournaments, workshops, and conferences:

Saturday, September 28 – HSPDP Teacher Workshop, Claremont McKenna College (CMC)

League Tournaments
Saturday, October 12 – Tournament 1, Site TBD
Saturday, November 9 – Orange County Championship, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano
Sunday, December 15 – The Webb Schools, Claremont
Saturday, January 18 – Desert Valleys Championship, Site TBD
Saturday, February 15 – Compton High School, Compton
Saturday, March 7 – Los Angeles Championship, Oaks Christian School, Westlake Village or Orange County School of the Arts
Sunday, March 29 – Los Angeles Championship, Oaks Christian School, Westlake Village or Orange County School of the Arts

Championship Tournament
Championship Tournament – Saturday, April 18, Site TBD

Additional Events
Language Tournament (3 divisions – Spanish, French, and Chinese) – The Webb Schools, Date TBD
Academic Conference on Criminal Justice Reform – Friday-Saturday, January 24-25, CMC
University PDP Championship (high school teams eligible, with independent awards) – Saturday-Sunday, January 25-26, CMC
Academic Conference on Electoral Reform – October 2020, CMC (paper and other submissions, Summer 2020)

All members of the Debate Union need to be available for staff and judging work at the PDP high school and middle school championships, as well as additional select events. Here are the 2020 championship dates:

High School Championship, Saturday, April 18, TBD
Southwest Regional MSPDP Championship, Saturday, April 25, Mount San Antonio College, Walnut
MSPDP National Championship, Sunday, April 26, Mount San Antonio College, Walnut

Congratulations – Asante Africa/Accelerated Learning in the Classroom Program

Congratulations to the Asante Africa Foundation, a non-profit educational organization working with teachers and students in rural Tanzania and Kenya. The organization uses the Debate Union’s Public Debate Program to accelerate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the classroom. More than 45,000 students and hundreds of teachers have participated in programming.

Congratulations to Charlie Sprague and Jesse Katz Blumenthal, the winners of the 2010 US Universities National Debating Championship. The tournament was sponsored by Regis University and the University of Denver, April 8-11. Charlie and Jesse were undefeated in their 10 debates. They placed ahead of Stanford, Yale, and Portland State in the final. The tournament included 124 teams representing undergraduate and graduate institutions from throughout the US.

Congratulations to other award winners at the tournament. Ellen Lebow and Adriane Holter were tournament octafinalists; Nick Rosa and Priya Srivats finished in fifth place among novice contestants (students in their first year of British Parliamentary intercollegiate competition). In addition to team honors, Jess Katz Blumenthal was the 9th ranked individual speaker and Charlie Sprague was 11th speaker. This was the third time that Charlie has placed in the top ten at the national championship tournament. He was 2nd in 2008 (partner – Kari Wohlschlegel POM ’08) and 9th in 2009 (partner – Raymond Lu POM ’11). It is the second time that Jesse has placed in the top ten. He finished 10th in 2008 (partner – Joseph Clifton CMC ’11).

Other attending teams did extraordinarily well at the championship. No Claremont team was eliminated from competition prior to the result of the final preliminary debate. This is the fourth national championship for the CCDU but the first in the BP debate format, now the most popular college and university debating model in the US and in the world.