Topic: Public Policy Analysis: Understanding the Concern
We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frosts familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy. A smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at is end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers out last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth
Policy analysis is the study of public policy concern and the development of possible solutions to the public policy concern. Public policy analysis borrows from rational decision making. According to Michael Kraft, in rational decision making, one defines a problem, indicates the goals and objectives to be sought, considers a range of alternative solutions, evaluate each of the alternatives to clarify their consequences, and then recommends or chooses the alternative with the greatest potential for solving the problem (Kraft, 2018).
According to Kraft, Public policy analysis contains five steps:
Step 1: Define and analyze the problem.
Who, what, when, where, and why is there a public policy concern?
Step 2: Construct policy alternatives.
What are the possible, public policy options?
Step 3: Choose evaluative criteria.
How do we evaluate the possible, public policy options?
Step 4: Assess the alternatives.
Which alternatives are better?
Step 5: Draw conclusions.
Which public policy option will you choose?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an excellent resource on how the institution practices policy analysis.
A key component of public policy analysis is defining and understanding public policy concern. One must first identify the problem before one can offer possible public policy solutions.
Rachel Carsons environmental activism is an example of understanding a public policy concern.
On September 27, 1962, Rachel Carson, a former U.S. Bureau of Fisheries employee, naturalist, and author, wrote the international bestseller Silent Spring, an environmental book that documented how synthetic chemical pesticides damage the environment, wildlife, and humans (Carson, 1962). Carsons book was a synthesis of four years of scientific research: government reports, congressional testimony, and academic case studies (Lear, n.d.).
Rachel Carson starts Silent Spring with A Fable for Tomorrow. In this short story, Carson illustrates a small town beset by a strange blight.
According to Frank Graham, Jr., author of Since Silent Spring, Carson said her purpose in writing this book was the first to inform the public about the downside of pesticides and to spur the government to take necessary action (Graham Jr., 1970). The publication of Silent Spring, coupled with the ensuring media furor, chemical industry pushback, and Carsons congressional testimony, ignited environmental, public policy debate.
For more information on Rachel Carsons impact on environmental, public policy, please watch PBSs documentary, Rachel Carson.
Directions: Using the required, academic readings, and supplemental academic research, please address the following while adhering to the Discussion Board Rubric:
Select a specific example of public policy from one of the following fields:
An example of economic policy is U.S. budget deficit spending.
An example of education policy is the implementation of national education standards.
An example of environmental policy is the Clean Air Act.
An example of foreign policy is how we conduct trade with other countries.
An example of healthcare policy is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
An example of welfare policy is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Using the rational decision-making model:
What is the chosen, public policy concerning issue?
Where is the chosen, public policy concerning issue?
Why is the chosen, public policy concerning issue?
How did the chosen, public policy concerning issue begin?
Did previous, public policies cause this concerning issue?
How can one better frame the concerning issue in terms of voter engagement?
How does your chosen, public policy concern benefit from public policy analysis?
Carson, R. (1962). Silent spring. London: Penguin Books, in association with Hamish Hamilton.
Graham, F. (1970). Since silent spring. London: Hamilton.
Lear, L. (n.d.). Rachel Carson, The Life and Legacy. Retrieved from http://www.rachelcarson.org/