Origin and Mission

In January 2020, Governor DeSantis announced the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI) with The Marcus Foundation to elevate civic knowledge, civic skills and civics disposition for middle and high school students. The Marcus Foundation committed $5 million over three years to the Florida Education Foundation to increase Florida student’s access to speech and debate program. Before the initiative was created, there were 11 school districts in Florida that participated in debate. In FCDI’s first year, Florida now has 59 active teams in 30 different school districts across the state.

The mission of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative is to create access and opportunities for all students to have the best civics education including curriculum, debate programs, and high-quality teachers that are catalysts for students becoming great citizens who can preserve our constitutional republic for future generations.

Applications for our phase two schools are now live

Apply Here!

Florida Civics & Debate Initiative Goals

Within the seven regions in the map above, the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative will expand programs into 60 new schools in the first year with the intent to implement in all school districts by 2023. This will increase access for all students to participate in speech and debate programs, regardless of school district, socioeconomic status, or background.

Expand Local Civics, Speech & Debate Programs

The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative  will develop and host the first of its kind National Civics and Debate Competition (NCDC), which will allow a broader range of students to explore, understand, and express important constitutional, legal, and societal issues.

Host a National Civics Debate Competition

Provide Teacher Professional Development

Professional Development opportunities will be provided to teachers and debate coaches throughout the year to provide educators with techniques and best practices for teaching civics, speech, and debate.

Check out our Event Calendar!

Participating Schools


  • Kanapaha Middle School
  • Hawthorne High School


  • Merritt Brown High School
  • Breakfast Point Academy
  • Deane Bozeman School


  • Stone Magnet Middle School
  • Space Coast Junior Senior High School


  • Orange Park Junior High School
  • Orange Park High School


  • Pinecrest Glades
  • Pinecrest North Preparatory


  • Duncan Fletcher 6-8 Middle School
  • Samuel Wolfson 9-12 High School


FLVS Full 6-8


  • Gadsden Elementary Magnet School


  • West Glades School K-8
  • Moore Haven Middle High School


  • Lake Placid High School


  • Burnett Middle School
  • Summer High School


  • Somerset Jefferson Middle School
  • Somerset Jefferson High School


  • Mt. Dora Middle School
  • South Lake High School


  • Caloosa Middle School
  • Island Coast High School


  • Madison County High School


  • Liberty Middle School
  • West Port High School


  • Baker Middle School
  • Ft. Walton Beach High School


  • Southwest Middle School
  • Colonial High School


  • Westside K-8
  • Liberty High School

Palm Beach

  • Renaissance Charter at Summit
  • Congress Community Middle School
  • Lake Worth High School


  • Dr. John Long Middle School
  • Wiregrass Ranch High School


  • Azalea Middle School
  • Bayside High School


  • Berkley Accelerated Middle School
  • McLaughlin Middle School
  • Navigator Academy of Leadership
  • Winter Haven High School


  • George C. Miller Middle School
  • Q.I. Roberts Junior Senior High School

St. Lucie

  • Somerset College Preparatory Academy
  • Forrest Grove Middle School
  • Ft. Pierce Central High School


  • Sanford Middle School
  • Seminole High School


  • South Sumter Middle School
  • The Villages Charter High School


  • Taylor Middle School
  • Taylor High School


  • Vernon Middle School
  • Vernon High School

Stay Informed!

Visit our Florida Civics and Debate FAQ to answer your questions about the initiative. You can also reach out to the Director of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, Elizabeth Eskin!

Elizabeth Eskin
Director of the Florida Civics & Debate Initiative
Email: Elizabeth.Eskin@fldoe.org

Check out the Florida Civics & Debate Initiative Newsroom!
Access the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative FAQs