VOP attended the recent American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning conference in Washington, where we demonstrate­­d our policymaking simulations to hundreds of political science professors. The educators travelled from universities across the country and overseas, to learn more about the latest teaching tools that are available for their classrooms.

We were eager to show how the policymaking simulations we are developing can be used in classroom settings as a learning tool. These simulations are designed to mirror the actual policy debate in Congress, in a way that is balanced and fully transparent.

These policymaking simulations are developed by the Program for Public Consultation, affiliated with the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. They work with senior staff experts from both parties in Congress, and outside experts from a range of viewpoints, to ensure that the presentation of the issues is accurate and fair, and that the arguments for and against the various policy options are the strongest ones being made by proponents.  Respondents can then use them to communicate their views to their representatives in Congress in way that is informed and more sharply targeted at the choice points that Congress is dealing with.

The feedback we received from political science professors in various disciplines was very positive and indicates real interest in utilizing these new tools in classroom settings. Several mentioned that the simulations would be a great way to bring students into the policy debate in Congress.

This strong positive reaction suggests that VOP’s policymaking simulations will not only help members of Congress gain a better understanding of their constituents, as well as help their constituents better understand the issues and tradeoffs Congress faces.