The Kalamazoo Urban Debate League

$1,650 of $35k goal

Raised by 33 people in 38 months
Hayden Uihlein   KALAMAZOO, MI
At the Kalamazoo Urban Debate League our mission is to produce and support excellent critical thinkers in high schools through policy format debate. Historically, well-funded travel debate teams from private high schools have dominated high school debate because of their increased access to coaches, evidence databases, the ability to pay for residential summer camps and other resources. For a majority of students on the west side of Michigan, the last ten years of budget cuts have meant little to no access to high school debate programs.

In an analysis of the Chicago Debate League, Dr. Briana Mezuk et al. witnessed 19% higher graduation rates amongst participants, that participants were 3 times less likely to drop out, had increased college readiness, higher ACT scores, as well as an average GPA almost a half point higher than non-participants. Linked here. The study also showed that there was no significant correlation between participation in debate and the poverty level when debate is accessible.

In the Kalamazoo region we have the schools and students that want to compete, but only Portage Northern High School supports a travel debate team. Without other Kalamazoo programs, this requires them to travel across the state, rent out hotel rooms, go out to eat and so on. This adds up quick. The Kalamazoo Urban Debate League offers a real answer to this dilemma, both in the empirical successes and the affordability of urban debate programs.

It is estimated that an Urban Debate League (UDL) reduces the average seasonal cost per student by over half and with enough support some UDLs are even able to disburden schools districts even more! It makes me very proud to say that this association with the debate program at MSU, and more specifically with the Spartan Debate Institute, will allow us to offer our member schools and students heavily discounted rates to residential summer camps and coaching clinics.

Here in Michigan, I have watched in awe as the Detroit Urban Debate League (DUDL) has reintroduced debate programs at 16 public schools in metro Detroit and now has over 260 active participants, all since their founding in 2009. Also noteworthy is that the DUDL has maintained a 100% graduation rate for their high school participants amidst a period of 38-70% graduation rates for Detroit Public Schools. With a regional institution in place on the west side of the state, we will be able to provide coaching, judges and resources for teams that can provide this very real academic benefit to our regional schools. This will allow the reintroduction of one of the most important scholastic activities in our regional high schools: debate.

Most responses to the KUDL sound something like "Oh, I didn't know we had a debate league!" Well, this is our first year in action. The league was officially founded in March 2013, and as of April 18th, we have legal non-profit status in the state of Michigan. In this short period of time we have accomplished a lot including securing an excellent debate staff. Our executive director, Hayden Uihlein, founded the league and is the current head coach of the Portage Northern High School debate program. Last year, Northern's novices placed first at the Michigan novice state championship. Our assistant director, Jim Freeman, is a former college debater from the New School who has worked with the NY urban debate league. Jim also runs fypd a popular policy debate blog. During his college career, Jim was nominated for the Michael K Davis award for the best NE college debater without high school experience.Well now he's returning home to the Kalamazoo area to help ensure that no others from the Kalamazoo region might be nominated by giving them the opportunity to debate that he did not have in High School. Our tournament director is Brita Bliss. For those of you in the debate world, Brita runs the tab room. We are also training a slew of volunteer judges and have found area college students incredibly interested in the prospect of learning to judge high school debates.

Here is a list of our presently affiliated organizations:
Michigan State University Debate - Spartan Debate Institutes
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Detroit Urban Debate League (DUDL)
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I should note that though we did not receive the Arcus Prize, we have not lost our vision.


If you would like a receipt from the KUDL contact us at Kurbandebateleague@gmail.com

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Update 3
35 months ago
We were just the front page story of the Kalamazoo Gazette! How cool. You can check out the story here: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/08/kalamazoo_college_grad_spearhe.html#incart_river_default
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Update 2
37 months ago
Hey, expect an Mlive/Kzoo Gazette article on us soon! Maybe even a spot on WWMT-3 Kalamazoo, too!
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Update 1
37 months ago
You can read about our efforts in the Chelsea Standard online here: http://www.heritage.com/articles/2013/06/13/chelsea_standard/news/doc51b743cd5c274100824693.txt
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$1,650 of $35k goal

Raised by 33 people in 38 months
Created June 5, 2013
IE
$200
Inta Ertel
32 months ago

Good luck!

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LE
$75
Lynne Ertel
32 months ago

Belated graduation gift for a fantastic endeavor.

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MM
$25
Meghan Mayday
33 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MM
$25
Meghan Mayday
34 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$30
Anonymous
34 months ago
MM
$25
Meghan Mayday
35 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MM
$25
Meghan Mayday
36 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MM
$25
Meghan Mayday
37 months ago (Monthly Donation)
RF
$25
Robert Freeman
37 months ago (Monthly Donation)
ZH
$5
Zari Haggenmiller
37 months ago

KEEP POSITIVE!

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