The 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates


The 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates is a tournament conducted annually by Chicago Public High School students in the spring. The competition is sponsored by Citibank and administered by the Chicago Debate Commission and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. The tournament is intended to engage some of the city’s most accomplished high school debaters in an evidence-based discussion on important issues of personal finance.

These public debates use a format designed both to maintain the rigorous evidentiary standards of policy debate and to be accessible to a public audience.In the Chicago Debate League, they parallel our fall semester Performance Trust Public Debates on the U.S. Economy. Because the topics and format are not the same as the competitive academic debate topic and format used throughout the year in the CDL, the students who participate in the 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will undertake six weeks of training prior to the public debates themselves.

Participant Schools and Debaters

Coaches from the “LCC, A and AA” conferences are encouraged to nominate teams for this tournament. Nominations are due by February 18th, 2015 at 6pm and should be submitted using our online application. Ten two-person debate teams will be selected from nominated schools with each conference (“LCC, A and AA”) represented. RCC schools and guest schools are not eligible for this tournament, based on the sponsor’s request. Schools are welcome and even encouraged to name 2 – 4 additional student participants to help their debate team prepare and practice for the public debates themselves.

Format and Topic

The format of the 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be the public debate format used by the Performance Trust Public Debates and by the NAUDL in other venues. It incorporates the components of policy debate that make it remarkably rigorous – in particular, the standards of refutation and the use of textual evidence. The format is designed to be comprehended by and engaging to a general audience.

The debates will be on the following resolution:

Resolved: on balance, easy access to credit benefits college students.

Event Structure

The 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be held on two dates:

On May 15, all 10 teams will debate at the offices of Citibank in downtown Chicago. The debates will be judged by two-judge panels consisting of Citibank volunteers and Chicago Debate League judges. Each school is required to bring one judge (a coach suffices) to the May 15 debates. On May 20th, our top two teams will face off in a championship round.

Initially, the ten teams will be divided into two competitively comparable pods of five teams each. Each team will debate four rounds, meeting each of the other teams in its pod, two rounds on the affirmative and two on the negative.

At the end of the day on May 15th, each team will have a number of ballots – likely 8, as there will likely be 2 judges in each debate round. The two teams with the highest number of ballots in their respective pods – that is, the winner of each pod – will advance to the final championship public debate round to be held on May 20th. That championship debate will be on the same resolution and the team with the better record in its respective pod will select sides (affirmative or negative).

The final debate will be held on May 20th in front of an esteemed panel and an audience of debate peers, students, and guests. All teams and coaches are expected to be present for the championship round on May 20th.

Location and Transportation

On May 15th, the Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be held at the Citibank office in downtown Chicago, 230 W. Monroe Street. On May 20th, the 2014 Citibank Final Public Debate will take place at Lindblom High School on 6130 South Wolcott Avenue.

Participating schools are responsible for their own transportation to and from both sites.

Preparation Requirements

The administrative partners and sponsors of the 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates expect participating schools to take preparation for these debates quite seriously. Doing so will ensure that students learn all that this project has the potential to teach them. It will also ensure that the CDL showcases for the city and for CDL sponsors all that CDL students learn throughout their participation in the league.

Our planning timeline lays out specific dates of the preparation events and requirements referred to below.There are three preparation workshops in April. All three run from 5pm – 7pm, and are held at the Citibank offices in downtown Chicago. All three begin with a dinner for all attendees. Participating debaters are required to attend all three workshops. Coaches are required to attend the first workshop and encouraged to attend at least one additional workshop.

Coaches are expected to work with their students closely to prepare for the tournament. All schools must submit a researched and written case on both sides (affirmative and negative) of the resolution by the deadline (April 24th). Schools will receive feedback from the CDC and/or NAUDL and are then required to submit case revisions for all four cases by the second deadline (May 1st). Schools not submitting cases and revised cases are subject to having compensation docked. An important resource assisting schools in writing their cases will be the 2015 Citi Financial Literacy Debates Research Guide, which will be assembled by NAUDL and the CDC with advice from Citi expert financial professionals.

Finally, each school will be required to conduct one internet-based practice debate, in addition to the in-person practice debate at the third workshop.

School Compensation

Each participating school receives $500 in coach compensation. The first $250 will be disbursed after the CDC receives first drafts of the four cases teams are required to submit. The second $250 will be disbursed on site at the debates on May 15th.

Citi will be offering generous scholarships to members of the 1st and 2nd place teams.

Again to apply, use our online application

Contact us if you have any questions.

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