[eDebate] CEDA should have a mission different from NDT

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Jul 26 12:40:09 CDT 2007

Something must be wrong when I agree with Jackie Massey, Tuna, Mike Korcock and
Kelly Young all in one week.

Mike made a profound statement when he wrote that [paraphrasing], as stewards
and inheritors of the CEDA organization, we have been monumental failures. We
have stood by while the memberhsip of CEDA has declined by well over half, if
not by 2/3 of its former membership.

Jackie is right that schools are leaving because CEDA is ignoring thier needs.

I was reading Hoe, Mahoney, et al's responses to Jackie Massey. One response
that I have seen repeatedly is that programs have dropped out of CEDA because
of budget cuts, increased travel costs--namely, an argument that economics have
driven people out of debate.

Not true.

I have been looking at AFA and NFA membership lists and organizations for an
alternative to CEDA/NDT. I am not sold on Parlimentary debate. What i did find,
however, that a HUGE number of those schools doing IPDA are former CEDA coaches
and CEDA debaters. Thos eprograms did not drop off the face of the earth, they
voted with their feet. I also found NFA L/D debate. The NFA topic, apparently,
is going to model this year's high school topic area-Africa, which gives a
program a chance to work with area high schools on policy debate. There are
things I am not too sure about in their rules. So, alternatives do exist. And
these schools are going to tournamnets all over the country--just not on the
CEDA/NDT radar.

Tuna and Jackie are right that CEDA has become so focused on catering to elite
varsity programs, that novice and JV programs are being forced to make a
desperate choice over whether to continue doing CEDA/NDT debate. After 20 years
of particpation in CEDA--as a student, coach, and program director--I am now
being faced with that choice.

I agree with Kelly's post on CEDA-L that CEDA has become merely duplicative of
the interests of NDT. The organization has either outlived its purpose, or has
lost its way. If CEDA continues to exist as a viable organization, it needs
more than simply saying "We host an Open National Tournament."

What should CEDA's mission be?

I suggest the mission should be to foster
comeptitive debate for college students with little or no prior experience as
its first priority. Students with advanced experience are welcome in CEDA, but
the first priority of the organization, including the drafting of debate
resolutions, is the increased recruitment and participation of college students
into competitive debate; possibly as an adjunct to college argumentation

I really believe that an establishment of a fundamental organizational
goal/mission, backed by real policy changes to promote that mission, would go a
long way toward rehabilitating CEDA and perhaps bring former schools back.

Starting the ball rolling.

Scott Elliott, Ph.D., J.D.
Director of Debate ULL

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