Messiah and Mausjon work together during the Summer Debate Academy to create their rebuttal.
Thurgood Marshall student Jaymaba delivers her debate case as her partner Douglas concentrates on creating his next argument.
A student from Laboratory Charter School creates his rebuttal speech in response to his opponents' claims.
Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League champions pose with their awards at the high school finals at the University of Pennsylvania.


In ASAP’s Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League (PSDL), students debate a variety of topics determined by the National Speech and Debate Association, such as the Electoral College and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. To accommodate the influx of new teams and rookie debaters, ASAP splits the PSDL into Varsity and Novice levels. At both Varsity and Novice levels, each topic is debated at weekly competitions for one month, allowing students to refine their arguments and research the latest reports to cite in their presentations. Students must be prepared to defend the pro and con sides of each topic, requiring them to recognize the merits and pitfalls of their arguments and adjust their strategies accordingly. Match winners are determined by points assigned in 6 disciplines: (1) Analysis; (2) Evidence; (3) Reasoning; (4) Cross Fire; (5) Rebuttal; and (6) Delivery. Coaches and community volunteers serve as judges for each match, providing feedback on presentations and discussing areas of improvement for future competitions. From October to April, ASAP will organize more than 100 individual debates each month – nearly 800 student debates per year, including a finals competition at the University of Pennsylvania.


October Topic - Resolved: In United States public K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.

November Topic - Resolved: On balance, the benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms of decreased personal privacy.

December Topic - Resolved: The United States should end Plan Colombia.

January Topic - Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

February Topic - Resolved: The United States should lift its embargo against Cuba.

March Topic - Resolved: The United States should no longer pressure Israel to work toward a two-state solution.


Need to register for this week's high school debate match?  Click here.


High School League Standings:

Congratulations to the 200 high school students who competed in this year's Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League!  Final results from the 2016-2017 season are below.

To view the final team standings of the Varsity PSDL, please click here.

For Varsity individual standings, click here

To view the final standings of the Novice PSDL, please click here.

For Novice individual standings, click here.

For the school sweepstakes results, click here.



Middle School Fall Topic - Resolved: Direct popular vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections.

Middle School Winter Topic - Resolved: Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

Middle School Spring Topic - Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.


Middle School Tournament Results:

Congratulations to all the students who competed on Thursday, May 18 at ASPIRA Olney Charter High School!  After three intense rounds of debate on the topic of single-gender classrooms, the results are as follows:

1st Place Team: Priya Cue & Ciani May from Laboratory Charter School

2nd Place Team: Ryan Reaves-Piercy & Courtney Daniels from Freire Charter Middle School

3rd Place Team: Oscar Gerber & Corey Becker from Friends Select School

Top Speakers: Priya Cue (Laboratory Charter School), Ciani May (Laboratory Charter School), Oscar Gerber (Friends Select School), Courtney Daniels (Freire Charter Middle School), and Ryan Reaves-Piercy (Freire Charter Middle School)

Full tournament results can be viewed here.

Resolved: Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. 


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