What is Model Congress?
Model Congress is a program for high school students where they gain a broader understanding of the political system, the levels of government, and the law as it is applied to the individual. Students begin by learning the by-laws of the Model Congress, the actual legislative process and Parliamentary Procedure, which is better known as Robert’s Rules of Order.
Students at Bordentown meet with students from 13 other high schools and split into political parties where they debate and create platforms based on all the schools’ ideas. Bordentown students then each create a bill to be presented in Congress. The program culminates in a student run, a two day Model Congress that requires them to put into practice their understanding of the legislative process as they attempt to have their bills voted on and passed.
In order to perform the model role of legislator, students assume the dress and demeanor of Senators, Representatives, and Chair people. Outstanding students can be chosen as Speaker of the House, Senate President, and Political Party Whips and Leaders. They begin debating bills they have written in committees and continue to debate passed bills in full house sessions. Members of political parties try to influence voting on bills targeted to pass or fail in order to accomplish party goals that fulfill their party’s political platform.