National Government: Shaping Public Policy
Session 4: Ways to Influence Public Policy
- Chalkboard and Internet access
NOTE: The following Web sites will help students gather information on groups who influence public policy:
- Write the definition of public policy on the board (see definition below), and have students copy it down.
Public policy: the action the government takes to address an issue, solve a problem, or meet the needs and wishes of the citizens
- Introduce the different groups involved in the formation of public policy: political leaders, interest groups, the media, and citizens. Ask students to identify how these groups shape the policy agenda. Explain the term policy agenda.
- Put students into teams of two or three. Assign one of the following groups to each team:
• Any third party of the group’s choosing (assign different third parties to two or three groups)
• Interest groups
• Individual citizens
- Direct teams to research how their group used each of the ways listed below to shape public policy. Use the Internet sites listed in the Note above.
• Attending political and governmental meetings
• Working in campaigns
• Contributing money to candidates and funding causes
• Organizing public opinion
• Filing a legal challenge
• Petitioning government
• Running for office
- Conduct a follow-up discussion about the ways groups and individuals shape public policy. Ask the students if they discovered other ways of shaping public policy that were not on their list?
- Ask the students to think about the following for homework: Could each of the groups you researched implement the policies they want passed by themselves?