Welcome to the High School Public Debate Program!

Welcome to the home of the High School Public Debate Program (HSPDP), featuring national and international class and contest debating for students from 9th-12th grades in the US and like ages/grades in other countries. The HSPDP is one of 4 debate outreach programs founded by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union. Debate and other outreach operations, including leadership communication, Civics in Action, academic conference, healthy eating initiative, are included in the Public Debate Program (PDP). The other debate outreach operations are the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP), a school network from students from the 5th-8th grades, the Youth Public Debate Program (YPDP), a dedicated initiative for 5th/6th grade students, and the International Public Debate Program (IPDP), a high school program for US students participating in international tournaments, exchanges, and other events. The PDP includes substantial support for the integration of debating skills – public speaking, research, listening, note taking, critical thinking, argumentation, refutation, organization – in the classroom. Schools register and participate in HSPDP, MSPDP, YPDP leagues; students audition and register for participation in IPDP programming, although there is a school-based national championship.

The PDP is now in its 16th year of operations; it is among the largest and fastest growing debate outreach programs in the world – more than 800,000 students and teachers participate in class and contest projects and leagues in 29 countries. The PDP is primarily a school-based program. Individual schools register for PDP leagues and are eligible to participate at championship tournaments. Individual high school students are eligible to auction for the IPDP. In general, non-school entities are not eligible to participate in programming (e.g., after school enrichment and testing centers, external and private debate clubs, hybrid teams representing more than one school, non-accredited institutions, etc.)

The HSPDP uses a proprietary debate format, aligned with educational standards and developed to maximize student learning outcomes.   Students participating in HSPDP training will develop professional public speaking, argumentation, refutation, organization, and critical thinking skills. Educational support includes a textbook, teacher guide, online instruction, streaming videos, and other curricular materials. The HSPDP includes certification training for competition judges, as well as training for tournament administrators, coaches, community volunteers.

The PDP is sponsored by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union, centered at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California. The Claremont Colleges are among the nation’s elite liberal arts institutions. John Meany, Director of Forensics at Claremont McKenna College, is the Executive Director of the Public Debate Program.

students receive sophisticated public speaking and argumentation training, as well as opportunities to practice their skills

Students receive sophisticated oral communication and argumentation training, including analytical reasoning, critical listening and note-taking, and refutation, as well as opportunities to practice their skills for public audiences

In addition to the HSPDP program, the IPDP recruits, selects, and trains high school students for international events in the WSDC and other international high school debate formats. The program is extraordinarily successful. Among other honors, students have been tournament award winners in multiple years of the China National Debating Championship Pan American Debating Championship, and the Heart of Europe Tournament. For example, in Summer 2013, teams placed 2nd and 3rd at the China National Championship, 6th at the Pan American Championship, and 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 9th at the Heart of Europe Championship.

Information on the MSPDP, YPDP, and IPDP programs is available on dedicated pages on this site.

Categories: Administration

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