For your final project, you will select a public policy that is of interest to you, analyze it according to four critical elements, and write an analysis paper (see the Prompt section below for more detail on each critical element).
(1) Constitutional framework (2) Federalism (3) The practice of intergovernmental relations (4) Public policy and practice
While this is not a policy course per se, it uses policy theory and examples to explore intergovernmental relations by looking at how a policy impacts governmental agencies both vertically (at the local, state, and national levels) and horizontally (between agencies such as school, police, public health, environmental, etc.). You will comprehensively analyze how the policy is embedded in the struggle for power and resources between and among levels of government. (See Guidelines for Identifying a Policy section for more information.)
In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:
Evaluate the constitutional system of checks and balances in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government as a framework for the division of power Determine appropriate models of federalism for addressing policy formation in systems of democratic governance Assess fiscal federalism models for their impact on policy funding strategies Develop policy funding models through assessment of vertical and horizontal agency competition for scarce resources Assess policy implementation challenges and opportunities for informing ethical and efficient delivery of quality public services
Prompt Your policy analysis should answer the following prompt: In coordination with your instructor, select a public policy that is of interest to you. The policy can be at the federal, state, or local level and must have implications for at least two levels or agencies of government. You will analyze the policy and its implications, using research from secondary sources.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:
I. Constitutional Framework A. Introduction: Provide a concise description of the policy you selected, including the constitutional context in which your policy is grounded. B. Explicit and Implied Powers: Analyze the explicit and implied powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government in relation to your selected policy. For example, which branch has the power to implement your policy? C. Division of Power: Assess how the division of power creates tension between the branches of government. How has this tension impacted your policy? D. Checks and Balances: Evaluate the relationship between the division of power and the system of checks and balances. In other words, how does the system of checks and balances act as a framework for the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government? In your response, focus specifically on your policy and how it has been impacted by the system of checks and balances.
II. Federalism A. Models of Federalism: Differentiate between the models of federalism as a form of democratic governance. Provide examples of how these models are manifested in current policies, specifically the policy you selected.
B. Process of Governing: Assess how collaboration, cooperation, and conflict impact the process of governing at the federal, state, and local levels, focusing specifically on your policy. Support your response with research. C. Federalism Model: Determine the federalism model that best explains your policy. Justify why this is the appropriate model for your policy. D. Budget Process: Describe how the budget process works across different levels of the United States government, focusing specifically on how your policy is funded. Support your response with research. E. Regulatory Schemes: Compare the regulatory schemes for funding programs. What are the benefits and consequences of the different funding programs in relation to your policy? F. Fiscal Federalism: Assess the implications of fiscal federalism on your policy. Integrate the results of your research to explain how the funding strategy has impacted your policy.
III. The Practice of Intergovernmental Relations A. Competition for Funding: Assess how agencies compete vertically with other levels of government and horizontally with other agencies for funding. What are the benefits and trade-offs that must be made to ensure adequate program funding? Support your response with your policy research. B. Governance Structure: How does the governance structure of the policy impact the effective and efficient implementation of programs? Support your response with your policy research. C. Policy Funding Model: Develop a model for lines of authority and lines of funding for the policy. What are the gates and barriers of the programs? Who are the supporters and who are the critics? Support your response with your policy research.
IV. Public Policy and Practice A. Challenges: Assess the challenges (fiscal, resource, or bureaucratic) faced by state and local public administrators for implementing the policy. Support your response with your policy research. B. Opportunities: Assess the opportunities (fiscal, resource, or bureaucratic) faced by state and local public administrators for implementing the policy. Support your response with your policy research. C. Public Services Delivery: How do the policy implementation challenges and opportunities inform ethical and efficient delivery of quality public services? In other words, in what ways are these challenges an impediment to an ethical and efficient delivery of quality public services? In what ways do these opportunities provide a pathway to an ethical and efficient delivery of quality public services? Support your response with your policy research.
Milestones These assignments will ensure timely and effective progress toward the completion of your final project.
Final Submission: Public Policy Analysis In Module Nine, you will submit your public policy analysis. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric.
Deliverables Milestone Deliverable Module Due Grading One Identifying a Policy (Round Two) Two Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric Two Rough Draft of Sections I (Constitutional Framework) and II (Federalism) Five Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric Three Rough Draft of Sections III (The Practice of IGR) and IV (Public Policy and Practice) Seven Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric Final Submission: Public Policy Analysis Nine Graded separately; Final Project Rubric
Guidelines for Identifying a Policy Select a policy that is of interest to you. You will gain the most benefit from this activity if you select a policy that you feel passionate about. You must be able to articulate why this particular issue is of interest to you. It is preferred (but not required) that you select a local policy, in your area. The policy you select can be at federal, state, or local level and must have implications for at least two levels or agencies of government. The policy you select can be currently in process or one that has already been resolved or implemented. If you experience any challenges identifying a policy, contact your instructor.
For example, if you are concerned about public safety, you may be interested in exploring the impact of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program as an early intervention strategy to prevent drug use. There are several real-world examples of intergovernmental initiatives discussed throughout this course that may be helpful to review as you select a policy (e.g., federally regulated high-speed internet in Oregon, fracking in Pennsylvania, the water crisis in California, the Panama Canal expansion and Florida ports, the recent Zika issue).
Researching Your Policy There are many sources of information for policies. Here are a few:
Interview: One of the best ways to get the information you need for your final project is to interview someone working with your policy. Government professionals, elected officials, and appointed administrators—even at the local level—can provide a wealth of IGR experiences to draw from. The person could be at any level of government—a school board member or town official, a state representative, a congressional aide, a federal judge, and so on. For example, if you research the D.A.R.E. program, an appropriate person to interview might be the local police chief, the school resource officer in charge of D.A.R.E. education at the state or local level, or a school administrator. Depending on the size and scope of the program, your interviewee may have intergovernmental relationships vertically (at the local/state/national level) or horizontally (between the school, police, or public health agencies). Conducting an interview can be very helpful for understanding how these intergovernmental relationships impact the ability of the policy to be successful and deliver the most benefits. Conducting an interview is recommended, but not required. Refer to the Interview Instructions document for more details on conducting an interview. These instructions support conducting an interview with a policy administration official as an optional approach to gathering information for your final project.
News articles: Follow the thread from a popular news article and track down the cited sources.
State websites: If you go to the website for your policy’s state and search for that policy, you should be able to find resources and information.
Federal websites: Federal websites, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (if you research a health-related policy) have a wealth of information.
Reference librarians at the Shapiro Library: They are available to assist you with conducting research for your final project.
Evidence-Based The paper must demonstrate that your ideas are well-founded and comprehensible. To accomplish this task, it is important to provide and cite convincing information such as data, comparisons, and effects of inactions or policies taken on this issue in other jurisdictions. Be sure to cite evidence from multiple reputable sources. There are many sources that can be of assistance, including SNHU’s Shapiro Library. Below is a list of other helpful resources.
Final Project Rubric Guidelines for Submission: Your policy analysis should adhere to the following formatting requirements: 15 to 20 pages in length,
Be sure to include a list of full references to the materials you cite using APA style formatting.