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Florida’s Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI) Expected to Reach All Florida Districts in 2022-23

~ FCDI is expected to reach over 400 schools and every Florida school district in 2022-23. ~

Tallahassee, Fla., July 1, 2022 - Today, Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. praised the success of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI), an innovative program strengthening free speech and civil discourse in Florida classrooms.

Since Governor Ron DeSantis announced the initiative in 2019, FCDI has expanded civics education and competitive debate opportunities to 237 schools across 45 school districts and is on pace to reach more than 400 schools and every Florida district in the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis, Florida’s students are increasingly prepared to be informed and engaged citizens after they leave our schools,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I’m excited to see so many schools across our state participating in the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, and I look forward to working with teachers, school districts, and students to further meet the demand for this outstanding program.”

FCDI was launched in partnership with the Florida Education Foundation (FEF), a direct-support organization for the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). The program’s mission is to create opportunities for underserved middle and high school students to receive the best civics education possible by providing curriculum support, debate opportunities, and high-quality teachers equipped to empower students to become great citizens.

“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative is the only statewide civics and debate program of its kind,” said FEF Executive Director Kristin Piccolo. “By coupling civics education with debate, Florida is providing a unique learning environment for student scholars, which will benefit them both now and in the future. In just the second year, our program already serves as a shining example for the rest of the nation.”

FCDI provides professional development opportunities for teachers and debate coaches throughout the year as well as student debate camps and coaching clinics. The initiative is also scheduled to host “The Great Debate” in November, the second annual National Civics and Debate Competition, allowing a broad range of students to explore, understand, and express important constitutional, legal, and societal matters.

In addition to FCDI’s 2022-23 projected statewide growth, the initiative is expected to train over 5,800 teachers and reach 766,000 students in the upcoming school year. The program’s total impact to date includes:

  • An increase from 11 to 45 school districts with debate programs.

  • An increase from 59 to 237 schools participating in the debate program.

  • An increase from 2,023 to 4,793 student participants in debate.

  • An increase from 306 to 3,056 teachers benefiting from debate and civics education professional development programs.

  • An increase from 40,392 to 403,392 students reached by teachers receiving civics professional development from FDOE and FEF/FCDI partnership.

  • An increase of 48 debate tournaments over the last two years.

For information about the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, including its teacher toolkit and calendar of events, visit:



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