Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Models and Methods | Other Political Science | Political Science
I examine how interest groups can gain and maintain federal funding by following one successful case study – Upward Bound.
Upward Bound is a federal program, headed by the Department of Education, which assists low-income high school students with finishing high school and with entering and succeeding in higher education. In 2005, President Bush proposed to cut finding for Upward Bound in order to further fund his No Child Left Behind initiative. However, UB managed to conduct a rewarding venture into interest group politics, and the program was reauthorized.
I plan for this project to serve as a handbook for citizen-based interest groups, who wish to build a strong network necessary for successful lobbying inWashington.
I begin by presenting a political history of Upward Bound. The program has roots in initiatives established by President Kennedy, which were then implemented by President Johnson under his “Great Society” banner. I then move on to Upward Bound’s recent history, detailing the events that led to UB’s spot on the chopping block.
Before moving on to Upward Bound’s role as lobbyist, I present an evolution of lobbying – from Madison’s Federalist No. 10, all the way to big-time lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s downfall. I conclude that interest groups have come to the point where they must learn to play “the game,” which typically involves money and power – neither of which Upward Bound has in abundance.
However, we know that Upward Bound does, in fact, succeed. The program’s strategy is described in the following section. UB makes particularly effective use of involving communities in a grassroots effort, wherein lies implicit political power.
The Council for Opportunity in Education serves as Upward Bound’s own lobbying agent, and effectively organizes massive support for the cause – crossing party lines, conducting original research, and heading out to the frontline in Washington.
I then discuss the valuable “network” to which Upward Bound can attribute its success. The program garners widespread public concern, and is able to implement “maximum feasible participation.”
Finally, I lay out the handbook in detail, covering the most effective approaches used by Upward Bound, which could be applied to any small citizen group vying for government influence. Organization, community ties, and original research are particularly crucial.
Yusaitis, Jessica, "Upward Bound's success in Interest Group Politics" (2006). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 641.
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