Beginning in 2018 PS 34 has been developing third to fifth graders as debaters to encourage them to develop their voices on important social issues such as book banning, gun control, GMOs, and currently they are considering the resolution that K-12 schools should be able to punish online student speech outside the school day.

They have competed in twice a year in MS 50 District 14 Elementary School Debate Tournaments for public elementary schools throughout Brooklyn. These tournaments not only introduce 3rd through 5th graders to competitive debate but also allow them to work closely with partners to create written arguments. Competitive debate requires students to find reputable sources through research and become experts on the issues that they are preparing to argue. Consequently, debaters build confidence speaking in public and expressing their ideas eloquently.

For those who commit to speech and debate, it offers a lifetime of benefits. Debate teaches students how to persuade, how to present clearly, and how to connect with an audience, exactly the skills that enable students to advocate for themselves and others.  You’ll find ex-debaters in every area of public life, from Bruce Springsteen to Oprah Winfrey to Nelson Mandela.  60% of Congressional representatives participated in debate, as well as at least a third of the Supreme Court.

Perhaps most important of all, debate is fun!