[eDebate] UDL's and college debate-check the facts.

V I Keenan vikeenan
Tue Aug 5 11:37:54 CDT 2008


just a few other additions:

"Why not create a version of UDL's at the college level. There are literally

hundreds of HBCU's and OTHER COLLEGES* that have a large minorty student
population that do not participate in policy debate

It would be a better dedication of time, effort, and resources than the
current
hollow appeals to change the aesthetics of policy debate."
[* caps mine]

Will Baker, Andy Ellis, and I find this a unique proposal and will get right
on it . . . oh wait.

Why can't we do both at the same time?

And since we're on the "fact check" thread:
The stated purpose of the initiatives in the 80's in Atlanta and Detroit was
NOT "increase African American participation in debate".  In Atlanta it had
a lot more to do with conflict resolution and improving academic
achievement.  College debate coaches always think UDL's are about debate as
an end - they are not.  Given that probably 90% of teachers who coach UDL's
don't come from debate backgrounds, they see this as a means to an end, and
that end has little to do with our "debate community".

Additionally, the "UDL Movement" as funded by the Open Society in the late
90's (and the model that most of us are generally referring to, which was
based on the Atlanta program), had it's initial pilot program in NYC.  The
NYUDL began with 10 schools throughout the five boroughs in 1997.  Some
facts about NYC public schools:  15 % White, 35+ % "Black", 35+% "Hispamic,
Non-White, 14% Asian Descent.  So, since about 65% of the targeted
"district" isn't African American, and this is the pilot program, Jillian is
correct that UDL's were not in fact founded to assist primarily the
African-American student population.

Additionally, the date for students in UDL's based on race is problematic
because most metrics allow students to check only one racial identity
category.  This was a frequent issue back when I was a teacher and we filled
out "data" for students - many students are of mixed ancestory, and the data
makes them choose.  I personally had a number of students of both Hispanic
and African American backgrounds who chose based on how they were
"perceived" by the world - and this tended to err on the side of "Black".
Additionally, many students would make a distinction between
"African-American" descent and "Caribbean American" descent - the later
really representing an immigrant community and different set of linguistic,
legal, and socio-economic realities.

So when Jillian asks that we stop misrepresenting UDL's, she is correct.
The INTENT of these programs has often been mischaracterized, and the data
we use in our justifications is often flawed, so why don't we go with the
program directives say?  I'm not trying to add disagreement to the
discussion, but at some point we need to be able to accept corrections to
the basis of our conclusions to move forward.  Part of that process is
recognizing when we may be operating with an incomplete understanding of the
information, and that sometimes we can be wrong, and that sometimes there
are multiple approaches to a problem. (Seriously, does no one else think
"perm" is the most real world response we have?)

Finally, if would be refreshing for a change if the traditional policy
community didn't assume that the issue is "minorities need debate".  The
reality is that it goes both ways.  If you REALLY believe this is all
role-play of policy making, if your REALLY believe this is some kind of
educational simulation where we prepare future "leaders" and participants in
democracy, then perhaps, just perhaps, the "community" that we interact with
should be representative of the people of that system.  Just a thought.

-VIK
(token white middle class female coach of the Coalition)

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