Student Debate Series

The next Student Debate Program will take place on Thursday, February 17, 2022

Registration for the February Student Debate Program is now closed! If you are still interested in participating or have any questions, please reach out to Geoffrey Quinn, Director of Education High School Programs, at or at 215-561-4700 ext. 207

Borrowing off both the success of the Council’s 2020-2021 student debate series, and the Council’s Great Debates legacy podium speaker series, we are happy to announce that we will once again offer our Student Debate Series for member high schools.

In response to a timely debate prompt, students will be divided and assigned to one of two groups (affirmative or opposed) and hone their research, writing, strategic thinking, and public speaking skills in the form of a structured, formal debate with their peers. The Council will provide accompanying topic and group-specific resources for students to review prior to the debate. A panel of judges will utilize a detailed rubric to choose a winning side and students will have the opportunity to earn individual awards based on their debate participation and performance.

The February Debate Series Program will focus on the topic of Universal Basic Income, positioning students on either side of a debate that most recently gained widespread attention in the United States during the 2020 presidential election, but has appeared in American and international political debate for decades. The debate on the implementation of Universal Basic Income (UBI) has gained even more traction in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as governments around the world have had to issue temporary cash relief to citizens as a means of offsetting the pandemic’s negative economic effects. Some countries around the world have already implemented some form of UBI, providing interesting case studies for potential implementation in the United States and others. Through pre-program research and participation in this program, students will gain the ability to participate in balanced debate surrounding the economic trade-offs, impacts on labor, and social implications of implementing UBI.

If you have any questions about this program, please reach out to Geoffrey Quinn, Director of Education High School Programs, at or 215-561-4700 ext. 207.

About this Program: 
* Format:
 In-person program (held at the Council's office) with additional dates and a move to virtual programming if needed; 
Duration: 2 hours;
Program Offerings: 2 debates scheduled for 2021-2022 academic year - October and February;
* Preparation level: Medium - Students should anticipate reading a short set of pre-vetted resources from the perspective of their assigned debate group prior to participating in the debate

February Debate Preparation & Resource Guide

Students participating in the February Student Debate Program will use this Preparation & Resource Guide to conduct their topic research and prepare for the upcoming debate.