Youth City Council Debate Resources
Youth City Council Debates is a simulation of the real NYC City Council. A group of 10-25 students, called a Chamber, will compete in a legislative session based on the national format of "Congressional Debate." A series of bills and resolutions will be proposed by students from various schools. Students in turn will be selected by a presiding officer — a student elected to conduct the business of the round — to give speeches both advocating for and encouraging the defeat of the measure in front of them. Following each speech, competitors will be able to pose questions of the speaker. Once debate is exhausted on a particular item, the chamber will vote either to pass or fail the legislation, and debate moves on to the next item.
Legislation comes in two types — a bill and a resolution. A bill is a plan of action, detailing how a particular policy proposal will be implemented. A resolution, meanwhile, is a statement expressing the opinion of the chamber. Legislation can address local, city, state, national, and international issues. The agent of action is always the NYC City Council. For example, NYC City Council can debate a Bill to create free college for NYC students for NYC colleges. City Council can also debate a Resolution calling on the United States to adopt a Single Payer Health Care System.
Typically, one session of Youth City Council lasts about 2-3 hours. During that time, students typically give speeches 3 minutes in length. The first two speeches on a piece of legislation are known as the first advocacy, or first pro, and the first rejection, or first con. These speeches are followed by 2 minutes of cross examination. After the first pro and con speech are established, each additional speaker is subject to one minute of cross examination by the chamber.
The NYCUDL offers "Youth City Council Debate" at our middle school tournaments every month as well as the City and State Championships. The State Championships will of course reflect the New York State Legislature and will accept state-wide debate topics in addition to national and international. During the 2018-2019 school year we are piloting the morning session as City Council devoted to local NYC issues.
Legislation Nomination Form
Our topics are nominated and selected by the NYCUDL, coaches, and students. Topics are announced for each tournament. New legislation can be nominated. Click below to nominate local, national and international legislation.
Sample City Council Debate Topics
The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) provides a sample monthly docket of congressional debate bills and resolutions on the first of each month. Click here to for the "Topics" page of the NSDA and scroll down to "Congressional Debate" at the bottom where you can download the monthly docket.
Student Debater Resources
Students can access the resources below to help with congressional debate.
Teacher Resources for Youth City Council
Click below for teacher resources for congressional debate. *Note - these resources are only available for NYCUDL teachers. If you have not yet registered your school you can do so by clicking here. If you have registered with the UDL, the email you signed up for should enable you access. If not you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the Teacher Resource Folder you will find the following resources:
- "Guidebooks" - various general handbooks
- Lessons and Curriculum
- Sample Bills and Resolutions
- and More!
We are thankful to Winning Words for helping to support our teachers and students with topic research and information for Congressional Debate topics. Thank You!