Middle School Quality Initiative Debate

Principal Notes

On Saturday, March 28, the Middle School Quality

Initiative (MSQI) partnered with the New York

City Urban Debate League to host its third debate

tournament of the 2014-15 school year. The topic,

or resolution, once again was drawn from Word

Generation, a research-based program designed

to help middle school students acquire academic

vocabulary in language arts, math, science, and social

studies classes. More than 250 middle school students

from 25 MSQI schools participated in the most recent

tournament, and over 50 high school debaters from

the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical

High School, and ACORN Community High School

volunteered as debate mentors, facilitating workshops

on debate strategy and on navigating the high school

admissions process. MSQI Debate League is led by its founder Ben

Honoroff, one of the MSQI coaches. Matthew Doran,

coach of the host school, M.S. 45, presented me with

a team t-shirt sporting their team motto, “We Have

Issues.” Hunters Point Community Middle School,

M.S. 45, and North Star Academy took home the

highest honors, but all participants were winners for

dedicating their Saturday to engaging in a text-based,

Common Core-aligned, academic activity. MSQI

will hold its annual Debate Championships on June

12 where students will be discussing whether the

federal government should provide amnesty to

undocumented immigrants.

About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

The New York City Urban Debate League
25 Broadway, 12th Floor