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 programs. Before the initiative was created, there were 11 school districts in Florida that participated in competitive debate. In FCDI’s first year, Florida added 59 active teams in 30 different school districts across the state. In its second year, the program has grown by over 100 teams in 48 school districts for the 2021-2022 school year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* New Schools in 2021-2022
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!
Director of the Florida Civics & Debate Initiative