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Sample Paper on Government, Politics and the Policy-Making Process

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Sample Paper on Government, Politics and the Policy-Making Process


Public policy can be defined as those actions or programs taken by a government, which are supposed to solve issues that affect its citizens and make their lives better such as in the cases of health or education. When it comes to the federal government, public policies are passed in order to control trade and industries, to offer protection to its citizens – both in their home country and abroad – and help local government authorities and state authorities and their citizens who come from impoverished backgrounds through federal funding or grants and lastly to encourage social goals (Anderson, 2009)

In order for a policy to become law, it has to go through various stages from its creation to conclusion. These stages are agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination. This paper will address the processes of public policy making with reference to the issues raised against the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind reform using the Washington post article as a guide and the federalist papers numbers 10 and 51.



The Washington post article titled four key principles for NCLB rewrite is primarily about opposition to the attempt by congress to reform the No Child Left behind (NCLB) federal education law by interest groups. This is the updated version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was drafted and passed in 1965.

The article highlights a letter, which the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) sent to congress detailing four key issues that the complainant felt had to be included in a new federal education law. AROS consist of 100 grassroots community and labor groups, which represent 7 million people.

The first recommendation outlined by AROS is $1 billion dollars should be given by the federal government to 5000 schools, which are struggling in order for them to transform to sustainable community schools. Schools in impoverished neighborhoods should be primary focus as this funding will give them the resources needed to implement the transformation and hire full time coordinators for the schools.

The second recommendation suggests that ESEA should prevent further federal funding of new or expansion of charter schools. Furthermore, it should monitor the running of these schools by enacting regulations meant to prevent discrimination and corruption.

The third recommendation is that the federal government gives full funding for title 1. This is because it is vital for students from impoverished backgrounds and needy schools. The main duty for the federal government is ensuring equity is practiced in education. To ensure that this becomes a possibility, about $38 billion needs to be allocated. Congress should aim to reach full funding by 10 years so that needy students will benefit. Funds should continually be allocated to schools from impoverished neighborhoods and states need to take responsibility too.

The fourth recommendation is that ESEA needs to allocate $500 million to increase staff in schools, provide training and support to schools, which are implementing restorative justice plus other programs aimed at ending the school to prison pipeline. Half of this money should also be used to fund schools, which meet the title 1 eligibility but are struggling with high rates of students dropping out of schools (Kingdon, 2014). 

Federalist papers number 10

This is among the most famous political writings. It was written by James Madison. It answers the question of how the interests of the citizens or their rights can be protected from factions or a group of people whose interests differ from the majority. Madison defines faction as groups of people who gather to protect and promote their special economic interests and political opinions. According to Madison, a strong federal republic would be a remedy to this problem than smaller republics.

Madison argued that there were two ways to reduce the damages caused by faction: the removal of faction altogether or controlling the effects. One method of removing faction is eliminating freedom. This is difficult as freedom is essential in politics. The second method is building a society, which expresses the same interests and opinions. Unfortunately, this is impossible to do as people have different views and interests.

Madison argues that the main is caused by majority factions. The constitution created a government which was representative and it was formed by those in elected office being voted in by the majority. Direct democracies cannot prevent factions. This is because a strong majority tends to dominate and it is difficult to guard minority factions against the actions of this group. To prevent all this, he argues for a large republic. In his view, a large republic is different from a pure democracy because the government encompasses a large area that is run by elected delegates.

Federalist papers number 51

The federalist paper number 51 was published in 1788 by James Madison. It is among the federalist papers, which were essays that rallied for the US constitution to be ratified. It outlines how the government can ensure that there are checks and balances. It also called for the separation of the organs of the government, which are the executive, legislature, and judiciary. Madison main aim of writing the essay was to inform readers how the proposed government safeguarded their interests by creating separation of powers and protecting the citizens’ rights.

His main argument was that members of various government departments should be more independent and not try to influence or interfere with other departments. He argues that this is only possible if members of one department cannot have any influence over matters of other departments. He states that the best way to make sure that power was not concentrated on one branch of government is to provide constitutional safeguards, which will prevent this from happening. The fact that the American government is federal provides a guarantee that justice will be delivered, regardless of the power of the majority or minority. A country composed of several groups of people will benefit by self-governance, and though it could be too big to follow a federal plan, this plan can be modified to fit the United States.



State and municipal authorities

It is not clear how the municipal, state governments and the federal governments are separated. State and federal government exert influence on municipal governments reducing their independence. On paper, the state is supposed not to interference in the affairs of the city or municipal governments. Municipal authorities are independent of the state government and have their own form of administration. They raise money on their own, which they use to provide services to their residents. The state provides in many circumstances funding for various projects as the city authorities rarely have any money to render these services. Although they are not required to do so, most state authorities financially support these authorities. State governments therefore lowered the independent nature of city authorities. As a condition for continued funding, state governments demanded for increased say in the affairs of these authorities.

In city authorities who are financially independent, the state does not have much say. Therefore, it is arguably true to say that, the state government has influence on the city government because of the financial assistance that they give to the city authorities (Keith, 2015)

State government and city authorizes continue to disagree over their independence. The leaders of city authorities such as mayors have disagreed with the state over various issues such as education policies. Some state governments want responsibility of education to be primarily their while city authorities want the opposite.

The separation of the duties of the federal government and the local authorities is difficult sometimes to gauge. The federal government provides some funding to city authorities. For example, the Obama administration allocated some money for all the education institutions. In New York City, the public schools are managed by the city authority through the New York City Department of Education. It covers the five boroughs of New York City.

Ruben diaz Jr is the Bronx Borough president while Marcos Crespo is the Democratic member of the new York state assembly district 85. The two elected officials support the reform of the NCLB because it will help the schools that are failing in the Bronx. They also support the expansion of charter schools like the Girls’ Prep Bronx.

Agenda setting can be defined as the process of ensuring that a problem issue comes to the attention of the government in order for a solution to be sought. In the agenda setting of NCLB reforms, there are two main categories of agenda setters. (Kingdon, 2014). The first category is interest groups, which are represented by AROS while the second category is elected leaders. This includes the Speaker, the Chairman of the HELP Committee, the Ranking Member of the HELP committee, the Chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Senior Democratic Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The interest groups would like four key issues to be included in a new federal law while the elected leaders are keen on reauthorizing the law in its format. (Laswell, 2011)

The NCLB reform legislation was passed unanimously by both the republicans and democrats by the senate education committee. Although it had initially been objected by the democrats as they felt they had been left out of the process. Randi Weingarten on April 7, 2015 in an article on the US News commented that the senator Alexander from the Republican Party and senator Murray from the Democratic Party took an important step of ignoring party politics and listening to the various interest groups relevant in education. He further stated that their proposed framework would address ESEA’s goal of ending poverty and creating equity in the education sector (Bidwell, 2015)

                 Policy evaluation refers to activities carried out by government actors and interest groups to evaluate the performance of a policy and its impact in the future. Outcomes of these evaluations feed back into the policy processes with the intention of refining policy design and implementation, conducting policy reforms or even policy termination in some cases (Policy, 2009) Policies have to be evaluated which often leads to policy makers making changes. It is difficult to recognize the objectives of the policies that are to be drafted, make a determination of what the results of those policies will be, and then differentiating the impact these of policies from the influence of economic and social factors.

Implementation of policies is important in policymaking process because it gives the policy form and effect. Evaluation many times leads to policy makers making changes to policies, which really weigh on those who analyze these policies and the politicians in support of them. All the steps required to be followed in the making of policies have to be observed with the interest groups and politicians present. The effects of the changes in the policy, which has been proposed, may lead those participants to reject them depending on how they view them. These people are influential in asserting pressure for policy change. Without the pressure of those who will be greatly affected by these policies being present in the formulation of the policies, the government will enact laws that will not put into consideration their interests. Therefore, they will feel excluded and ignored by the government.

The reforms proposed by the Obama administration should put into considerations the proposals by AROS. This is because they are representative of the areas where NCLB has prioritized. This is the main interest group and their concerns are valid. In order for the NCLB reform to be implemented successfully, it has to include all the opinions raised. Otherwise, it will still be criticized for its failure to ensure equity in the public schools.



Anderson, J. (2009). Public Policy Making. New York: Holt, Rinehart

Bidwell, A (2015). No Child Left Behind: Senators Unveil Bipartisan Agreement on Rewrite. 

Keith J. (2015). De Blasio seeks permanent mayoral control of NYC schools. The legislative Gazette. 

Kingdon, J.W. (2014). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. Ann Arbor: University of          Michigan.

Lasswell, H. 2011. The Policy Orientation. In The Policy Sciences, edited by D. Lerner and H.

            Lasswell. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Policy Project. 2009. Networking for Policy Change: An Advocacy Training Manual.         Washington, DC: POLICY Project.


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