Public Policy 422 Congress and the State Legislatures: Topics in Policy
This course will be a broad spectrum exercise in policy formulation at the
Congressional and State Legislative level. Discussions in class will focus on
contemporary issues under consideration by legislative bodies, as well as the
Executive and Judicial Branches. Discussion will be open and, hopefully,
freewheeling. There is no absolute right or abject wrong in policy formulation.
Ideally, laws are created and policies are devised incrementally, and with input
from all sides.
The course, then, will deal with the practical, the “real world” side of the political
process. All opinions are welcome, the more incisive, even acerbic, the better.
The course will be graded on several levels: Attendance and participation in
discussion: 30%, two public policy memoranda (750 to 900 words): 20% each, an
editorial or op-ed piece (900 to 1100 words): 30%. The class may determine
when the papers will be due. In general, five weeks, ten weeks, and semester
Readings will be assigned in class or by c tools. Class members should read at
least one newspaper of general circulation daily. Suggest: New York Times, Wall
Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Detroit News, Detroit Free
Press, or others of your choice. Also suggest weekly news magazines: The
Economist, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and Time. Foreign Affairs, a
bimonthly magazine, will also be used from time to time, as well as other
Public Policy 422 is designed to educate students about the legislative process, its
strengths, foibles, and nuances. There will be guest speakers from government
and from the media. This is NOT a make or break class. It IS a class you should
enjoy, and in which you should feel free to voice your opinions in a vigorous
polemic twice a week.
J.J.H. Schwarz, M.D.