The LDEP plans to approach the task of improving the educational value of LD through two steps:
Phase 1) Drafting model documents that can be used by tournament directors, coaches, judges and debaters to improve the event;
Phase 2) Lobbying for specific actions by coaches, tournament directors, summer programs and the NFL.

We have completed most of our work in Phase 1, and we are now moving on to phase two. This will involve both top-down and grassroots efforts. We will try to get major national tournaments to adopt our recommendations and use that as an engine for broader change. We will also be working with the NFL to encourage the adoption of formal rules for LD that are consistent with our educational goals. But we will also encourage smaller and more local tournaments to adopt our recommendations in order to encourage productive changes for the many debaters who never compete on the national circuit.

Below is the initial list of documents that we planned to work on. The ones in green have been completed, and are available on our "Downloads" page. The ones in red are still being worked on.

Model Documents:

  • A list of recommendations for all LD judges
  • An introduction to judging LD
  • A statement on coaching ideals
  • An improved LD ballot
  • A model set of rules for LD
  • A statement on conflicts of interest in judging
  • A guide to ethical research skills for students
  • A guide to ethical research skills for judges
  • A guide to ethical research skills for coaches
  • A model set of tournament policies
  • A list of recommendations for effective coaching
  • etc. (we welcome your ideas here)

Lobbying for Change:

  • Convince tournament directors to improve their policies
  • Encourage coaches to attend the most educational tournaments
  • Encourage coaches to guide their students to positive institutes
  • Work with summer program directors to foster educational debate
  • Work with the NFL to develop clear rules and publications on LD
  • Teach debaters about the real value of debate ... preparation for success in and outside of school for the rest of their lives.

The LDEP has no official power over its members or any element of LD debate. We simply seek to convince and persuade people to adopt our suggestions, in whole or in part, in the long term interests of the students who participate in this activity.

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Geneva, New York

Founded in 1822

Contact the LDEP




(315) 781-3182


Lincoln-Douglas Education Project
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Scandling Center, Box 4136
Geneva, NY 14456