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Mr. Jouya’s Classroom Edit display name

  • University Academy
  • Kansas City, MO
  • More than three‑quarters of students from low‑income households

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Competitive academic debate has always been the intellectual sport of the privileged and well-off. Luckily, the tides have changed and the activity has incorporated a very diverse pool of students. Even still, there are some inequities between schools and programs that make the barrier to entry into the world of debate that much more difficult. There is no greater symbol of this imbalance than a debater's inability to afford a laptop. Imagine the stress of entering the high pressure world of a high school debate tournament as the only school without laptops. For my students this is a regularity that not only represents an achievement gap but also a mental obstacle to overcome. The benefits of going paperless in debate cannot be overstated: it saves our school and program a good amount of long term funds from having to print massive files - the average high school debater researches an equivalent amount of academic date as a graduate student! It would also allow for students to gain the critical technological skills to create, organize, and collaborate on documents and projects that very much translate to college and career readiness. These laptops for our debaters would mean better and more efficient students who would be on a more even footing with their more financially secure peers. The ability to process, research, and create files electronically would make a certain and palpable difference to our competitive success, a key to opening doors to collegiate scholarships and general student achievement.

About my class

Competitive academic debate has always been the intellectual sport of the privileged and well-off. Luckily, the tides have changed and the activity has incorporated a very diverse pool of students. Even still, there are some inequities between schools and programs that make the barrier to entry into the world of debate that much more difficult. There is no greater symbol of this imbalance than a debater's inability to afford a laptop. Imagine the stress of entering the high pressure world of a high school debate tournament as the only school without laptops. For my students this is a regularity that not only represents an achievement gap but also a mental obstacle to overcome. The benefits of going paperless in debate cannot be overstated: it saves our school and program a good amount of long term funds from having to print massive files - the average high school debater researches an equivalent amount of academic date as a graduate student! It would also allow for students to gain the critical technological skills to create, organize, and collaborate on documents and projects that very much translate to college and career readiness. These laptops for our debaters would mean better and more efficient students who would be on a more even footing with their more financially secure peers. The ability to process, research, and create files electronically would make a certain and palpable difference to our competitive success, a key to opening doors to collegiate scholarships and general student achievement.

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