Skip to content
December 30, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How to deal with the need to raise funds for policy debate programs (perhaps more how to grow with resource-poor programs)

The following is 2 parts of my replies on the Cross-X discussion forum:

I would point out…..however…..that funding for debating have numerous sources of funds:
1. school district & school
2. parents
3. students (summer jobs or school year jobs)
4. donation/sponsorship (of teams or tournaments/trips)

There might even be others.

Or you could figure out something that the college students would like….say a gift card to Target or Amazon….which you might be able to get for half price.

The economics simply don’t make sense given how much time is invested in
a) research
b] practicing
c) traveling
d) debating
for judges not to be paid. (kids work 15 to 25 hours a week on debate….and you can’t shell out $500 for judging for a whole season…..when camp is $3,000 or so)

Although I guess I can see that this might be a larger issue…if you pay policy judges…you should pay X, Y, and Z event judges too. I think its a little different–normal people can judge most of those events with little impact on overall results (presumably)–but in policy debate the need for expert judging requires paying for that judging. Simply economics of supply & demand–as described above.

Even the Urban Debate League offers their judges the opportunity to get paid or just to volunteer. In other words they pay their judges–they couldn’t have the caliber teams they do without it.

None-the-less….the get sponsorship to attend larger tournaments might work (I don’t exactly know what your travel restrictions are).

* My numbers were mostly guestimations. I’m sorry I don’t have data. You can figure out the time invested in debate for summer + tournament weeks….as well as the cost of hiring judges pretty easily.
Assuming you pay a judge $20 a round…thats just $5 per student in the round.


I would second what Chris said above…
1. Focus on what really matters. Learn about the practice of persuasion, learn about presidential speeches, and learn about critical thinking. That doesn’t require any funding. At most its interlibrary loan money. Which books to read? Well…do a search on “critical thinking syllabus” on Google advanced, with limits for .edu (you could also play around with limiting to .doc and/or .pdf). You could also play around with searching for top named schools (ie Harvard, Northwestern, Berkeley, etc…) Read textbooks on argumentation. Most debate camps & coaches totally ignore this–or don’t have the time to read the best books and insights from science, academia, or the popular presses on these topics.
2. Model the best of the persuasion & public speaking around you. Listen for distinctions, metaphors, contrasts, juxtapositions, and going big picture.
3. Pool resources in your community if possible. For instance, its cheaper to split paid coaching between 4 squads than just 1–at least for practice debates. (This is a raising tide that helps all boats)
4. Get creative. Get resourceful. Find your own solution. Life isn’t easy–learning about the struggle and ingenuity will pay off later (it probably makes for a decent college essay…and stories later on as well)

Three ways to get the books you want/need:
1. Interlibrary loan. This I believe is less than $2 a book. I think its often free.
2. Amazon has a ton of used textbooks books that are quality, but used. (note: sometime you are better off getting new if the price is close)

Chris and his wife are a prime example of putting his money and life where is mouth is.

5 – That only works if you have a rich school.

This might help if you had examples. I know Slusher came out of Missouri and is now coaching at Gonzaga (if I’m not mistaken)….not sure which HS he went to.

And this principle is probably not that much different than what happens in the Olympics….where often athletes struggle with average coaches and sometimes no coaching at all.

Love this quote from Chris:
The purpose of an apple tree is not for it to produce more apples… it is to produce more apple trees.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: