Civics Standard Four 9-12a: Students will develop and employ the skills necessary to work with government programs and agencies
- How should private citizens and interest groups most effectively communicate with government?
There are numerous situations in which an individual intends to participate but is unable to do so because he or she lacks the knowledge and skills needed to proceed. For example, one might intend to testify at a public hearing but be frustrated because he or she did not understand parliamentary procedures, understand how to research or advocate a position, or get placed on an agenda. Participatory citizens benefit from an understanding of how government agencies operate and from a set of skills that enable one to advance beyond intent.
The focus here is government programs and agencies, which are usually made up of bureaucrats rather than elected officials. This benchmark requires understanding the most prominent means for communicating with government programs and agencies, with emphasis on the means for influencing them. These would include the most common lobbying techniques. Students should understand what they are and why they work.
The benchmark specifies working with, not working against, government agencies. Opposing the plans and decisions of such agencies may be a common motive for political engagement, but it is not what the benchmark calls for.