The Public Agenda | Social Studies

November 11, 2015 thetasctest

The Public Agenda | Social Studies

The public agenda refers to our society’s most pressing issues that occupy the public’s attention at any given time. Issues can be local, national, or international. Issues include topics of:

  • Crime
  • Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • National debt
  • Environmental protection
  • International intervention
  • And much more

In preparation for the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™, it’s important to understand who shapes the public agenda and why.

How the Public Agenda is Shaped

Political leaders, political institutions, political parties, interest groups, the media, and individual citizens all contribute to shaping the public agenda.

  • Individuals and organizations frame details of an issue according to facts and opinions.
  • They communicate the importance of a specific issue.
  • They propose solutions to move an issue toward a desired outcome.

For example, due to a failed levy, your school district cut bussing for all children within a five mile radius of the elementary, middle, and high schools. Students must walk to school or provide their own form of transportation. However, it’s a safety concern to have young children walking alone on busy city streets. Additionally, many parents cannot miss work to drive their children to school.

The city mayor and school superintendent meet to discuss this pressing issue. They involve local interest groups, hold public meetings to raise awareness of the issue, contact TV stations, and write letters to newspapers and government officials to gain wide-reaching exposure.

Along with other present day issues, the public agenda is shaped to include the school transportation crisis. With continued discussion and awareness, the goal of any issues is to reach a positive outcome that will continue to move society forward.


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