The Chicago Debate Commission envisions a world in which Chicago youth are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become community leaders. We bring our vision to life through the transformative power of debate.
Debate transforms lives. A fun, engaging and academically rigorous after-school activity that builds on adolescents' natural interests in peer learning and argument, debate inspires students to take charge of their learning, dive deeply into complex issues, become critical thinkers and problem-solvers, and find their voice.
Policy debate provides students with unparalleled 21st century skills in reading, research, critical thinking, public policy analysis, evidence-based argumentation, civic engagement, teamwork and communication. Debate is research-proven to increase GPA's, ACT scores, and graduation rates. Debate prepares students for college and career success, and creates a culture of excellence at schools throughout the city.
A non-profit organization governed by a Board of community members, the Chicago Debate Commission was founded in 1995 and launched the Chicago Debate League in partnership with Chicago Public Schools in 1997. Starting with just five schools, the Chicago Debate League has grown into the largest and most successful of the 22 urban debate leagues around the country, serving approximately 1,300 students each year from 60-70 schools. The CDC has reached in excess of 14,000 students since its inception.
- students each year
- schools each year
- students since inception
The CDC reaches high school and middle school students from throughout the city of Chicago, from all kinds of schools, from all racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and from across the academic spectrum — including those who start school as high performers and those who start with academic challenges. For all these students, our debate program advances their skills and college readiness — and transforms their lives.