Why should my child debate? 

Debate helps students to develop speaking, thinking, and listening skills. Students who debate become more engaged in the world around them and develop sophisticated knowledge about a wide range of current events and complex ideas. Debate in the middle grades prepares students for success in high school, college, and beyond, while providing immediate benefits for academic success. Debate is valuable for gifted students and so-called ―at-risk‖ students alike, helping students of all ages take active responsibility for their own learning in a challenging and dynamic atmosphere. (This answer is directly quoting forensics experts Kate Shuster & John Meany, in their terrific book, SPEAK OUT.)