Policy Atlas:Adopters

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Introduction to Adopters

Adopters are defined as the jurisdictions who implement public policies. The purpose of this page is to more clearly outline parameters for associating specific policies with their Adopters on the Atlas.

Legally, policies must be approved and funded by elected legislatures, signed into law by an elected executive, and implemented by executive branch agencies. Many governmental entities thus play significant roles in the formulation and adoption of policies.

In addition, the structures of governments and their structures vary significantly across jurisdictions. A policy related to the collection of recyclables may be implemented by one city's Department of Public Works, whereas such matters might be handled by another city's Department of Sanitation.

For purposes of the Atlas, in order to maintain a consistent classification system, Adopters are herein defined as the jurisdiction implementing the policy. For example, if New York City Council passes legislation to reform the city's schools, the Mayor of the City of New York signs the legislation into law, and then the city's Department of Education is forced to implement the law, the adopter would be defined to be the City of New York, which is ultimately the jurisdiction implementing the policy.

Benefits of Tagging Adopters on the Atlas

One of the goals of the Atlas is to track the implementation of specific policies across different jurisdictions. By defining policies in universal, conceptual terms, and then tracking policies at the jurisdiction-level, users will be able to quickly and efficiently filter policies based on the jurisdictions that have implemented them, or will be able to evaluate what policies a specific jurisdiction has employed to meet specific policy goals. Benefits of tracking adopters in this way include:

  • Allowing one jurisdiction to browse policies that have been adopted by similar jurisdictions in furtherance of a common goal; and
  • Allowing users to better understand the policies that have been adopted in a specific jurisdiction in furtherance of specific goals.

For example, if a user sought to isolate policies that the City of San Francisco has implemented with Goal: Increase student attendance rates, they would easily be able to retrieve all policies associated with the jurisdiction and corresponding goal.

Using Adopter Tags on the Atlas

Each policy page on the Atlas features an "Adopters" section in which known adopters of the policies can be cited.

The reason for developing this master list of adopters is to ensure that all adopters are tagged consistently and non-redundantly--for example, that there are not scattered tags associating some policies with "Los Angeles," others with "LA," and still others with "LA City Council." By establishing this naming convention for adopters with consistent naming conventions, it will ensure the usability of the adopter tags as a means of retrieving their adopted policies, which can then be comprehensively retrieved with one search query.

Adopters should therefore be defined based on the type of jurisdiction they oversee. Examples of types of jurisdictions include:

  • Cities (e.g., City of Tallahassee)
  • Districts (e.g., District of Columbia)
  • States (e.g., State of Ohio)
  • Provinces (e.g., Province of Ontario)
  • Countries (e.g., Country of Canada)
  • International Organizations (e.g., International Organization of United Nations)

In order for a policy to be formally associated with an Adopter in the database, it must be tagged with the property "Is adopted by::" in the following syntax based on the nature of the jurisdiction:

[[Is adopted by::City of Tallahassee]]

[[Is adopted by::District of Columbia]]

[[Is adopted by::State of Ohio]]

[[Is adopted by::Province of Ontario]]

[[Is adopted by::Country of United States of America]]

[[Is adopted by::International Organization of United Nations]]

As one example of how the adopter tags can work, if a user was searching for education policies that increased attendance and had been adopted by the City of New York, a user could run a search for all policies with the property "Is adopted by::" and the value of "City of New York" as well as "Has goal of::" and the value of “Increase student attendance rates” in Special:Ask. Of note, although use of the Special:Ask query is fairly technical, as the Atlas evolves, this functionality is expected to become increasingly user-friendly (e.g., a search with different filters and checkboxes).

If desired, after the specific adopter, one can add a parenthetical with the specific lower-level governmental entity in charge of implementing the policy.

[[Is adopted by::International Organization of United Nations]] (U.N. Commission on Human Rights)