[eDebate] do y'all even remember the original question?

V I Keenan vikeenan
Fri Apr 6 17:50:47 CDT 2007

things we have learned from the preceding exchanges:

A. Debate does NOT, as previously thought, develop critical reading skills

B. Critical thinking skills may be developed, but it's obscured by the fact
that we STILL can't interpret humor and sarcasm correctly via electronic
media.  (maybe we all need more emoticons).

C. We are capable of engaging in a meaningful discussion of an issue for
about a maximum of 3 posts in a row.

I have found myself agreeing with a korcok post on edebate.  perhaps the
snow outside my window is hell freezing over . .  .

alas, despite the "hilarity" (cause that's what I read edebate for?) none of
it answers the original question at hand:

School systems are screwed up and unequal.  Bright kids with potential
develop more potential via debate.  However; debate does not solve for all
of the inadequacies of the educational system.  Therefore, bright students
with potential will not have the opportunity to attend more privileged or
competitive institutions via debate because entrance requirements do not
account for these inadequacies.

Theorectically, some of us care that the higher ed system we coach in is
replicating the elitism and privilege of society because of these access
issues.  This is problematic for any number of reasons (poor policymaker
training in a "democratic" society as the opinions heard are not
representative of the population served by said policies, poor activist
training as it prevents widescale practice of coalition building, FAILURE at
the basic pedagogical impulse that if debate teaches so many damn great
skills then they ought to available to others or else we replicate unequal
educational opportunities, true claims of elitism - to quote Bring It On, I
define being the best as competing and beating the best, which isn't true if
people just can't get to the game).  If we care, we hope to implement
policies and practices that may address the issue.

We have heard a few ideas thrown out:
1.  sue the system (colleges?) to demonstrate that admissions policies have
racist implications in an unequal educational world wrought by de facto
2. personal activism - change one mind at a time to get a critical mass to
care (vote, hold hands, wear buttons, sing kumbaiya)
3. recruit, and when they can't get in your institution, hope to find them
someplace else to go
4. identify alternative access programs which account for these
discrepancies (ie HEOP) and publicize and exploit them to the students we
know.  Identify similar programs or initiatives in other states/schools
5. accept the system is flawed and screwed up and focus on COMMUNITY
COLLEGES to access the students we are talking about where they are and go
from their
6. pay lip service because it makes you look better but in reality do
7. say AND do nothing because you just don't care - and own up to it.
8.  make a joke out of it
9.  lobby ad hom's at folks until the issue is forgotten in the blur

I'll also throw out:
10. "Coalition" build by sharing resources between more and less privileged
institutions so that larger educational access at least does not deny a
certain kind of debate access which can supplement education.

Did I miss anything?  Anyone notice where the discussion may have gone awry
. . .?  Seriously, other thoughts on the possibilities of institutional

if not, I'm going back to playing with Jimbo's Bard Coaching puppets.
Collect them all.  I hear the HegeMom controls the strings of the others

or, if you don't want to talk about this subject - JOIN THE DAMN TOPIC


Vik Keenan
Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894
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