The 18th season of the Chicago Debate League is underway, with Oceans Policy as the topic

This year’s oceans topic will allow our students to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of United States exploration and development of the Earth’s five oceans. They’ll consider new modes of offshore wind energy, the pros and cons of oil drilling and learn loads about the hundreds of thousands of species that call the ocean home.

With just under 80 schools, the CDL is easily sustaining its lead as the largest urban debate league in the nation. Several new schools have joined this year. Over 120 students jumpstarted the debate season at the Chicago Debate Summer Institute (CDSI) and Chicago Middle School Debate Institute (CMSDI) this summer, held at Westinghouse College Prep and Walter Payton High School, respectively. They are becoming the leaders in the league, which is expected to have over 1400 debaters this year.

Ten of our returning schools from across conferences are participating in the National Circuit program, funded by a generous donor. They started the year with a bang: the Northside College Prep team of Adam David and Sam Roth won the tournament and Meg Young of Payton took top speaker at the Niles Invitational in September. Congratulations!

This year will be the third full season the CDL has utilized its ground-breaking Qualitative Assessment Project — the first systemic attempt to measure the development of specific skills-mastery of students across the league and through the course of the season.  We plan to assess close to 200 varsity debaters this season using our specifically tailored rubrics to measure the attainment of innovative debater development benchmarks established by the Chicago Debate Commission. Those same debaters will be reassessed at the end of the season in follow-up.

The 2014 Allstate Varsity Invitational, to be held on October 18th, 2014, at the Allstate National Headquarters in Northbrook, IL is the CDL’s premier first-semester conference-blending event, an early-season book-end with the 2015 Chicago Debate Championship, at which the top teams from each conference will come back together to compete again for the top debate honors among all of the city’s public high schools.  Sixteen of the top Varsity teams from all four conferences will be invited to this year’s Allstate event.

All in all, we look forward to a phenomenal School Year 2015!