Monday Memo — vol. I, no. 11 — October 3rd, 2012

1. Coach Training Seminar III — Saturday, October 6th, 9:00am – 12:00pm

This is a reminder that we have Coach Training Seminar III this Saturday, 10/6, 9:00am – 12:00pm, at the Loyola Law School, 25 E. Pearson St., room 1303.

Parking at lots near the Loyola Law School is $10, with validation from the lobby of the law school building (the Philip H. Corboy Center, 25 E. Pearson St.). The Loyola Law School is also right off of the Chicago stop on the CTA red line.

Registration is required. Register by Friday, 10/5, at 3:00pm, by sending an email to

We will be focusing on 2012/13 negative off-case arguments, particularly disadvantages and topicality violations, and how affirmatives should answer them this Saturday, and we’ll be covering in some depth the following CDL Debater Development Benchmarks:

Basic Affirmative Burdens
(6) Affirmative off-case burdens: desirability, topicality

Basic Negative Argument Options
(8) Off-case arguments: disadvantages and topicality violations – structure and utility

Speaker Duties
(16) Negative speaker duties and roles: 1NC, 2NC/1NR (the negative block), and 2NR

Deploying Generics
(47) Understanding the utility of each component of big negative generic positions that apply to a wide variety of cases on the topic

We’ll also have time for strategy-sharing toward T1 “steps to prep.”

A reminder, too, that each of our seven regular Coach Training Seminars will focus on a different set of the Debater Development Benchmarks. This season, as part of the Qualitative Assessment Project, we are assessing Varsity debaters early in the season and at the end of the season, and JV (first-year) debaters at the end of the season, to assess (a) qualitative improvement in debating, and (b) attainment of qualitative standards of good debating.

The CDL’s professional development, and student training, will help support coaches so that every school can perform well on these measurements. The overall goal of the Qualitative Assessment Project is to raise the level of academic achievement and growth for all of our students, not to identify and separate winners and losers.

2. Professional Development Standard and Reporting Notebook

The Chicago Debate League has a standard that all coaches in the league are expected to meet: 20 hours for the season of professional development (10 hours for external coaches). Veteran coaches in the CDL — those coaches in their 7th (or more) year in the league — are exempt from the standard, though we do encourage our veterans (a) to take advantage of professional development offerings that they feel will facilitate their continued growth as debate educators and coaches, and (b) to pursue leadership opportunities (e.g., mentor coaching, leading tournament and group meetings), so as to share your professional experience with other CDL coaches (and thereby to earn PD credit, too).

The 2012/13 CDL Professional Development System lays out the standard, and the professional development venues within which coaches can attain the standard, in further detail.

The 2012/13 Professional Development Reporting Notebook tracks the PD of each coach in the CDL, as they seek an expanded professional capacity to teach and coach academic debate, and as they (or, as most) pursue attainment of the CDL standard of 20 (or 10) PD hours.

3. The 2012 Allstate Varsity Invitational — October 27th, 2011, in Northbrook, IL

Allstate is for the third consecutive year hosting and sponsoring one of the premier additional competitions in the CDL calendar. On October 27th, 18 of the top Varsity debate teams from all conferences of the CDL will converge on the national headquarters of one of the nation’s largest insurance corporations, Allstate in Northbrook, for a full-day of academic debate competition. The event will culminate in a reception with Allstate executives (and a “crossing the bridge to a corporate career” theme), and then an awards ceremony, at which college scholarships totaling $4,500 will be given to the top three teams overall, and the top speaker in each conference.

Coach compensation of $500 will be provided to each school with a team selected. If a school has two teams in the competition, the coach incentive will be $750 (no more than two teams will be invited from any one school — and at least two teams will be invited from each conference). Participating schools are responsible for their own transportation to and from the event.

Coaches should nominate up to two of their Varsity teams by sending an email to no later than Tuesday, October 9th. The email should identify the team (or teams) being nominated, and contain a description of (a) their readiness to debate in this prestige event, and (b) the value it would have either to their development, your school’s development, or both.

Further details on the 2012 Allstate Varsity Invitational are available in this overview of the event.

We deeply thank Allstate for its continued strong support of the Chicago Debate League — financially, and in volunteer involvement, and in many other ways. Allstate continues to help make the Chicago Debate League one of the city’s leading education programs for public school students.

4. The 2012 Performance Trust Public Debates on the U.S. Economy

Performance Trust Capital Partners, a national municipal bond-trading firm based in Chicago, is sponsoring for the third year the Performance Trust Public Debates on the U.S. Economy, to be held at the Performance Trust offices, 500 W. Madison Ave. (in the Citigroup building, a.k.a. the Ogilvie Transportation Center) on December 7th and 8th, 2012.

The 2011 Performance Trust Public Debates generated significant media interest — including a spot on WGN-TV news interviewing the top team — and were very highly praised by the participants themselves. Students learn a great deal about important economic issues, theories, and trends; they interact with highly successful financial professionals from Performance Trust; they work within the offices of a national financial firm; and they develop their rhetorical abilities within a debate format designed to communicate on matters of public interest with a non-academic audience, an unparalleled developmental opportunity in the CDL season calendar.

The Planning Timeline lays out the activities up to and including the public debates themselves on December 7th (all day) and December 8th (half-day, ending at 1pm). Selected teams will have a three-pronged commitment. (i) They will have to attend three two-hour training workshops on Wednesday evenings (5pm – 7pm), 10/24, 11/14, and 12/5. Dinner will be provided. Coaches are required to attend one of the three workshops. (ii) They will have to read and research on two U.S. economy resolutions, developing an affirmative case and a negative case on each of the two resolutions. Each team will have a volunteer advisor from Performance Trust to help them with this preparation. And (iii) they will have to learn and practice a public debate format that retains the core academic principles of debate — refutation and the use of textual evidence — while adapting other features to make the debates fully comprehensible to a general audience.

Ten teams from ten schools will be selected to participate. Coaches interested in nominating a Varsity team from their school should send an email to, describing (a) the team’s acceptance of the commitment and (b) the reasons they would be particularly likely to get substantial educational benefit from the experience. We will accept nominations through Tuesday, October 9th.

This event is truly one of the highlights of our season — educationally, and in every other way. It represents an innovation in debate education that adapts academic debate to a public setting in a uniquely effective and valuable way for students. We strongly encourage all schools to consider nominating a team to participate, and we thank Performance Trust and especially CDC Board member Robert Chrismer and Performance Trust CEO Richard Berg for their continued support.

5. Tournament Sites on the Season Calendar Page

Tournament One is fast approaching! The RCC kicks off its competitive academic debate season on October 12th – 13th, at Lane Tech College Prep. The LCC has its first tournament one week later, October 19th – 20th, hosted by Hyde Park Academy. The “AA” and “A” Conferences both have a traditional one-day Season Opener on October 20th.

The CDL programming site’s Season Calendar will always have current dates and locations for all events during the year in our league, so check it whenever necessary, check it often, and check it with confidence.

6. Incorporating the 2012 Presidential Debates in Your Classroom

Here are several sources of useful resources for your classroom teaching, in case you are planning to incorporate the 2012 Presidential Debates.

It probably starts with the schedule of the three Presidential Debates and one Vice-Presidential Debate this month.

The Presidential Commission on Presidential Debates is a source for official news and information about the debates.

POTUS Debates is a blog devoted to aggregating news coverage (good luck!) on the Presidential Debates.

You can watch the Presidential Debates live (or later) on YouTube Politics.

The International Debate Education Association has a debate watching kit, a classroom guide to the debates, and more.

eClassroom News has resources dedicated to teaching about electoral politics.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *