I Have a Dream Martin Luther King Jr. Debate Invitational!
My students need trophies to host our Martin Luther King Debate Invitational! Title I students do not have access to debate opportunities! We want to change this!
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of America's most gifted public speakers. Through the power of speech he was able to change an entire country. The problem today is that the majority of students do not have access to public speaking opportunities and training. This is a matter of civil rights.
Our school is typical of most public school debate teams.
We are located next to the Bronx jail where there is a daily line of inmates coming in and out. On the other side of the street is the criminal court where there is a daily line of criminal cases. The South Bronx is known more for poverty, crime, drugs, gangs, and failing schools than academic opportunities. However, six years ago, our school started a debate team; the only school in the South Bronx with a debate team. It has grown to nearly 100 students from grades 7th-12th. Their academic abilities range from special education to valedictorian. Their background ranges from abuse, mental institutionalization to perfect attendance. Their behavior ranges from regularly suspended to model student. But they are all united by their passion and love for debating.
They spend their days learning about debate, evenings in debate practice, weekends at debate tournaments and summers at debate camps. And this is just one such team!
Every student should be a Great Debater like Martin Luther King Jr. and have the opportunity to use the power of their voice to make a difference. Unfortunately, these scholastic debate tournament opportunities have been declining in recent years. Most debate tournaments cost money, some up to $100 per debater! This is an educational travesty and an issue of civil rights. Our students are being left behind because they do not have access to gifted and talented programs like debate. More important, it is access to opportunities such as public speaking and debate that can best empower our students to make a difference in their communities, advocate for civil rights, advocate for social rights, and make a difference.
The economic, geographic, and ethnic differences of our students should not be a barrier for our Great Debaters! Therefore, our proposal is to provide a Debate Tournament dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate the great student speakers of New York City!
Debate teaches students valuable skills in public speaking, research, logic, argumentation, analysis, reading, writing, and note taking.
It teaches knowledge that is not covered in traditional schools and the "common core" - philosophy, political science, current events, economics, all the social sciences, critical theory, and a number of other subjects! Debate is the best opportunity to close the achievement gap and provide the best civil rights opportunities for all students.
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