SOCW 6361 week 5

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Week 5: Building an Agenda

Experienced policy advocates realize that their first challenge is to get a specific policy issue on decision makers' agendas in agency, community, or legislative settings.
—Bruce S. Jansson, Becoming an Effective Policy Advocate: From Policy Practice to Social Justice (8th ed.)

When you have committed yourself to an issue and become involved in convincing others that the issue is important enough to merit serious attention by decision makers, you are taking the first step to building an agenda.

In Week 5, you explore the importance of agenda-building processes to policy practice. You examine procedures for getting items on policy agendas, explore ways for building skills that help get proposals onto agendas, and develop strategies for getting agenda items in front of decision makers.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze strategies for putting items on policy agendas
  • Evaluate accuracy of the Kingdon model of policy making

Learning Resources

Required Readings
SOCW 6361 Webliography
These websites will be required throughout the semester. Become familiar with these websites, especially when doing research for your assignments.
Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.
Chapter 6, "Committing to an Issue: Building Agendas" (pp. 176-203)
Edwards, H. R., & Hoefer, R. (2010). Are social work advocacy groups using Web 2.0 effectively? Journal of Policy Practice, 9(3/4), 220–239.
Optional Resources
MSW home page
Use this link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.

Small Group Discussion: Policy Agendas

There are challenges to agenda building that if not dealt with carefully and skillfully can adversely affect an issue or a proposal that you are trying to place in front of a decision maker. On the other hand, no matter how expertly you build an agenda for your issue or proposal, some issues are going to simply be avoided or not selected for consideration. Why is this so?

In this Small Group Discussion, you explore challenges surrounding policy agendas and the reasons why some proposals never make it to the decision maker.

By Day 3

Post your responses to the following questions presented for Small Group Discussion:

  • Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?
  • Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers' agendas. Why might this be?
  • Some issues receive significant attention from decision makers. Why might these issues easily find their way onto decision makers' agendas?
Be sure to support your post with specific references to this week's resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.
By Day 5

Respond to your colleagues' responses to the group discussion.


Responses

 Brittany Everett RE: Small Group Discussion Group A - Week 5COLLAPSE

Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision-makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?

According to Jansson (2018, p.180), social issues that do not reflect a specific vulnerable population and do not represent the betterment of society have a hard time convincing agency executives to prioritize their concerns. Therefore, a policy practitioner must understand the three challenges in agenda building; must identify the perspective as they listen to others, soften the context, and activate change (p.180). Through this discovery, a policy practitioner can have their social issues heard and placed on the decision-makers' agenda.

Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers' agendas. Why might this be?

Some issues lack funding strategies, relatively poor people (Jansson, 2018). Therefore, policy advocates have to identify resources that might fund programs as apart their proposal to decision-makers'. Also, another lack of support is new social issues never heard of before, and the subject of initial discussion seven years ago (p.185).

Some issues receive significant attention from decision-makers. Why might these issues easily find their way onto decision-makers' agendas?

Social problems that focus on environmental issues, human rights issues, and participation in advocacy were more likely to have decision-makers' attention (Edwards & Hoefer, 2010, p.3). When a policy advocator communicates through the internet, it is easy to access for a decision-maker. Evidence suggests websites provide elected representatives sharing contact information for elected officials, presenting guidance for how to contact elected officials, and supplying templates to help format effective communications. The direction will likely increase the probability that advocate correspondence will reach decision-makers and that the information will be formatted to garner attention (Edwards & Hoefer, 2010, p.3)."

References

Edwards, H., & Hoefer, R. (2010). Are Social Work Advocacy Groups Using Web 2.0 Effectively? Journal of Policy Practice9(3/4), 220–239. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/15588742.2010.489037

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.Chapter 6, "Committing to an Issue: Building Agendas" (pp. 176-203)


Response 2

 Darnell FAWCETT RE: Small Group Discussion Group A - Week 5COLLAPSE

               Social issues that do not receive the necessary attention from decision-makers because they may be under-developed issues or issues with under-developed concern within the community to inspire the interest of the decision-makers. Jansson (2018) specifies that there is disregard for some issues in comparison to the multitudes of other issues that are already being discussed at any given time.

               Support for certain issues may be lacking due to a host of issues. A particular issue may be an antagonist to another issue on an agenda that is already approved, adding something that may create additional conflict to something already approved is typically avoided at least at a private agency level. I would presume that this is not just true but magnified at the city, state, and federal levels. In addition to this, Jansson (2018) tells us that political leaders themselves will be most interested in items, and be willing to invest time into topics that will assist in the political career in some way, or will be of value in keeping political leaders elected.

               Some issues may be much easier to gain attention from decision-makers because of the topics or items presented are already of direct interest to them (Jansson, 2018). If an item presented focuses on a specific population, issue, concern that pertains to the platform of which the decision-maker holds themselves, the issue will be more likely to gain the needed attention (2018). With this in mind, social workers can look into areas in which decision-makers hold their interest and gear their attention towards, and present even new issues in ways that affect or directly relate to things that would help or assist a decision-maker to gain momentum in their career or standing within the community. The more an issue can be softened and made malleable from the beginning of agenda presentation, the higher the likelihood the issue will move on to other parts of the policy process such as even making it to policy deliberation (2018).

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.


Response 3

 Tonya Adams RE: Small Group Discussion Group A - Week 5COLLAPSE

Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?

There are many factors  that can contribute to the failure of why social issues does not reach the ear of  decision makers. According to Bird (2005), social issues  are complicated, costly, and does not help policy makers win elections. For instance, even though poverty can be a problem  that affects enormous of people. Poverty may never be a priority issue to reach the limelight not because it is unimportant, but because the issue is poorly understood and/or limited representation of the interests of poor people in policy formation process. Also this can happen when the information gap may be caused by inadequate research, or poor dissemination of existing research. In addition decision makers may not have enough evidence about the scale and severity of the problem.  Furthermore, another possibility, evidence may be both available and well communicated to policy makers, but they may not recognize the importance of an issue because dominant poverty and development discourse does not identify it as central to economic growth or poverty reduction.

Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers' agendas. Why might this be?

Some issues that have not gotten political gain won't get enough attention especially if it threatens the existence of the government. Based on the EDIS publication it explains how problems gain political importance and become public issues through agenda-setting. The politicians, the media, and interest groups plays an important role in informing the public to give them the right amount of information to make informed decisions about current issues through their own conclusions (Lasorsa, 2009). Problems faced around the world tend to differ in their level of importance, and the course of action taken by the media, politicians, and interest groups directly determine whether a problem will gain momentum and become a local, state, or national public issue. If an issue is of local interest and involves racial discrimination, it won't be given any importance. The media, politicians, and interest groups, political attention will continue to vary from issue to issue based upon the associated value of the issue to those in power positions. According to Iyengar and McGrady (2007) having enough attention on a particular issue over a long period can alter the views of the public. In addition, the media can lower the impact of one issue to promote another (Sweetser et al., 2008). Hawkins (2008), preferential media attention, especially for conflicts, happens due to political significance and cultural and geographical proximity.

Some issues receive significant attention from decision makers.
Why might these issues easily find their way onto decision makers' agendas?

If the issue is concerned to majority in terms of vote count, race or religion, it would get immediate attention. Also if it attracts more financial gain, it would be given enough importance. Additionally, if it is of international interest, it would get the attention. If it is national security, it would get the attention Sides (2017).

References:

Bird, K (2005). Marginalized and ignored: why some issues never make it onto policy agendas. Retrieved from https://www.odi.org/blogs/4090-marginalised-and-ignored-why-some-issues-never-make-it-policy-agendas

Owen, C and Lamm, A. J (2019). EDIS Publication, How Problems Gain Importance and Become Contentious Issues through Agenda Setting. Retrieved from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc177

Sides, J, Race (2017). Religion, and Immigration. Retrieved from
                https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publication/race-religion-immigration-2016
Response 4

 Shawndra Campos RE: Small Group Discussion Group A - Week 5COLLAPSE

Many social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers. Why might these issues be cast aside?

 A common reason that certain social issues do not receive the necessary attention from decision makers because not all social workers know what channels to go through to connect to the right decision makers for the job, this is seen with some non NASW organizations. NASW organizations have access to contact information as well as guidance on how to effectively get their issues to the decision makers (Edwards & Hoefer, 2010). Unfortunately, if the right decision maker that is needed to get backing for a specific issue than that issue might never get off the ground. Therefore, getting information to social workers about who to contact and how to contact decision makers is extremely important in advocacy efforts.

Some issues lack sufficient support to ensure that they are added to decision-makers' agendas. Why might this be?

 There is a competition for different advocacy organizations for fiscal support, which means that companies that are bigger and more well-known companies such as tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies, prison management entities(Edwards & Hoefer, 2010).. Petition drives provide a way to demonstrate the political support of an organization (Miller, 2009). Such an approach is effective in persuading policy makers that their position on an issue could affect their chances for re-election”

Some issues receive significant attention from decision makers. Why might these issues easily find their way onto decision makers' agendas?

 A fairly new way that decision makers are made aware of particular issues are through social media, “Advocates can also use Web sites to exchange political information with one another. This could yield a more informed advocacy force, sharing of political resources, or collaboration on shared political agendas” (Edwards & Hoefer, 2010. P.223).

References

Edwards, H., & Hoefer, R. (2010). Are Social Work Advocacy Groups Using Web 2.0 Effectively? Journal of Policy Practice9(3/4), 220–239. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/15588742.2010.489037

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:
Week 5 Small Group Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 5 Small Group Discussion

Assignment: Kingdon: Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies

Agenda building is often the first step in your policy practice tasks. Building a solid agenda may well determine the success of the development of a policy proposal and may also determine your success in placing an issue in front of a decision maker.

For this Assignment, you evaluate the accuracy of the Kingdon model of policymaking.

To prepare: Review Chapter 6 in your text, paying special attention to the section entitled "Three Challenges in Agenda Building."

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 3-page paper evaluating the accuracy of the Kingdon model in policymaking. Address the following:

  • Discuss the three streams Kingdon has identified where problems originate, and provide your opinion on which one most accurately reflects how and why policies come about.
  • Discuss the assertion that certain kinds of issues receive preferential treatment in problem solution and political streams.
  • Discuss tactics that policy practitioners use within each of the three streams to increase the odds that a specific issue will be placed on decision agendas.  

Week 5: Building an Agenda


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