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Weekly Column: Important Role Of Speech And Debate

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

“Personal, professional, and civic interactions are enhanced by the ability of the participants in those interactions to listen, concur, question, and dissent with reason and compassion.”  This recognition is part of the text of a resolution I joined in introducing to recognize the important role of speech and debate in refining students’ communication skills and advancing productive discussions. 

I competed in speech and debate in high school and have benefited from the early introduction of the important lessons I learned from this creative and useful outlet.  I joined a bipartisan group of 14 Senate colleagues, led by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), in introducing S.Res. 530 to designate “National Speech and Debate Education Day” in March.  Similar to a resolution I backed in past years, and the U.S. Senate passed, this resolution includes the following recognitions:

  • It is essential for youth to learn and practice the art of communicating with and without technology;
  • Speech and debate education offers students myriad forms of public speaking through which students may develop talent and exercise unique voice and character;
  • Speech and debate education gives students the 21st-century skills of communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration; and 
  • Critical analysis and effective communication allow important ideas, texts, and philosophies the opportunity to flourish.

National Speech and Debate Education Day highlights the important lifelong abilities of discerning and sharing views enhanced through speech and debate and recognizes that public addresses are often a central part of achievements, celebrations, commemorations and pivotal moments in history.  The resolution encourages educational institutions, businesses, community and civic associations, and all Americans to celebrate and promote National Speech and Education Day. 

Further, the resolution recognizes the hard work of speech and debate participants and the considerable time teachers and coaches devote to equipping students with debate skills and opportunities.  The Senate unanimously passed this resolution on March 2, 2022.

I commend the students, teachers and coaches in the 56 schools across Idaho competing in speech and debate this year and wish them the best of luck in their competitions as they refine their skills in effective communications and further this valuable activity. 

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