who we are
Reason For Debate
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit but first and foremost a community of students and educators passionate about speech, debate, and everything else that falls within. We aim to create a constructive environment with a goal of providing the simple opportunity to engage in true public speaking, whether that may come in the form of beginning, furthering, or perfecting the art of forensics. Here, we encourage the new and the experienced alike to build off of one another in an attempt to expand and develop this alliance of members in what we have come to know as the debate community.
Reason for Debate began in Orange County with a group of high school debaters eager to do more than stand at podiums: to allow others to also stand at podiums. From Woodbridge, Portola, University, and Beckman High School, a group effort arose to share our love of debate with other students. Beginning our lessons at one local SoCal middle school and gradually expanding to schools in Northern California, Alabama, New York, New Jersey, and even Korea, Reason for Debate is a clear example of what can be accomplished when debaters work together.
WHAT DO WE DO?
TEACH, LEARN, PRACTICE
We bring speech and debate to schools and education centers, starting brand-new programs or building upon what already exists. Experienced volunteers have the opportunity to refine their debating by teaching their skills, while new students have the opportunity to become formally acquainted with real debate. We coach these new students at little-to-no cost, eventually guiding them to become competitive-level debaters and preparing them to use their skills in nationally-acknowledged tournaments.
The RfD curriculum is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education encompassing public speaking, rhetoric, and research skills which are essential to all debate styles and applicable to real-world needs.
There exists an abundance of debate styles such as Lincoln Douglas Debate, Public Forum, and many more. Reason for Debate teaches a variety of debate styles because we believe that each and every debate style brings something unique to the table that helps and develops our students' critical thinking, empathy, and societal awareness.
Different styles of debate have different speaking times and topics. Beginners typically start out with Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas. In general, skills are transferable across different debate styles.
Lincoln - Douglas
Format: 1 v 1
Topics: Moral/philosophical emphasis, one topic per two months
Format: 2 v 2
Level: All (generally great for beginners and younger students)
Topics: Real-life policy issues, one topic per month
Format: 2 v 2
Topic: Given 15-20 min prior to debate round
Format: 2 v 2
Level: Recommended Intermediate - Advanced
Topics: Big-picture real life policy issues, one topic per year
Through America, historical inequalities have existed for a multitude of time. Reason for Debate recognizes these faults and flaws that especially evident in our educational system and as a result, we try to target three specific groups that are traditionally disadvantaged in competitive debate.
Read below to explain why it is so important to help these groups.
The forensic debate community has long been concerned with promoting diversity and has made improvements on the ethnic front. But when it comes to gender, progress has been relatively slow.
With so few young women in debate, our society is missing out on a critical opportunity to develop diverse future leaders. And in a world increasingly dominated by ignorance and extremism, we also neglect a powerful tool for supporting evidence-based reasoning and collaborative problem solving.
Credit: Dana Rubin
Minorities in debate have long been hindered by a lack of diversity both in the classroom and at the competitions. We try to counter this by expanding free debate education to communities of diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Furthermore, we encourage our debaters to be more knowledgeable in the oppression and disadvantages that face certain racial groups by exploring debate topics tied to social inequity and injustice as a result of racial prejudice. In helping young debaters become more aware of real-world problems, we hope to contribute to a future generation of intellect and awareness.
For students lacking resources and opportunities, debate opens up a multitude of doors. Debaters are prepared to succeed in college. Young people who have found their critical voice through debating are armed with intellectual skills and self-confidence that sets them apart from most incoming freshmen. Debate competitions acts as networking events. Many of those who debate in high school and college go on to become lawyers, policymakers, and academics; all of them maintain – and benefit from – the friends and contacts they make in debate.