This document will assist you in selecting community issues and preparing to use County Solutions with your students. The Public Policy flow chart is helpful in showing the ‘bigger picture’ and is used throughout the project.
Students explore the many roles filled by their county government and the role of county governments in a federalist system. After a close examination of the county, students create their own fictional county! Students are familiarized with fun facts about county government and analyze the transition of county development through the lense of westward expansion.
In the first of nine steps, students explore two county issues you have chosen. They vote to decide which issue the class will focus on for its “County Solutions” project.
Having chosen an issue for the project, students analyze two news articles about the issue. They apply the “5W + H” method in order to learn how to gather information from a news article. Using what they learn, they describe the current state of the chosen issue.
To begin thinking about possible solutions for the issue they read about in Step Two, students learn about the difference between individual, group, and government action. They analyze examples, then apply what they’ve learned by suggesting ways each type of actor could address the class’s chosen issue.
To increase their knowledge about both the chosen issue and the three types of actors they studied in Step Three, students examine three websites of governmental and non-governmental organizations that are involved with the chosen issue. They apply the “5W + H” method in order to learn how to navigate and gather information from a website. At the same time, they record and analyze new information about the class’s chosen issue.
Having built a foundation of knowledge about the chosen issue in Steps One through Four, students now learn the term “public policy.” Students identify government action and regulation as the two main ways the government works to solve problems. They analyze examples and evaluate the situations in which action and regulation are appropriate.
Building on the concepts of public policy, government action, and regulation from Step Five, students analyze real-world examples of government actions and regulations. Students get a taste of the wide variety of public policies that exist, and they learn how to evaluate a public policy idea for benefits and limitations.
Armed with knowledge about the chosen issue and about how public policy works from Steps One through Six, students brainstorm a public policy solution for the issue the class has been studying. Students use a “Thinking CAPS” method of organized brainstorming.
Students summarize their research and their proposed solution in one coherent document that describes what the issue is, what’s being done, and how the proposed public policy will help solve the problem.
Now that the research is done and students have articulated a proposed public policy solution for the chosen issue, they learn how to gather support. Students learn 12 different campaign and publicity strategies, then apply what they’ve learned by creating publicity materials to promote the class' public policy solution. This lesson may be done as a fictional exercise or to kick off a real-life campaign.