Intergovernmental Relationships: How The Three Levels of Government Work Together

The United States’ governmental system consists of three levels: local, state and federal. The three levels work together to help implement federal programs and mandates, such as those related to education and the environment.

infographic - intergovernmental relationships

Text: Intergovernmental Relationships

The Levels of Governments

The federal government is made up of the judiciary that comprises the Supreme Court and the federal courts. The premise behind the formation of federal governments is to provide stability and order to the society, in the economy and represent the USA in international relations. The executive arm comprises of the presidency, the cabinet, executive departments, and independent federal agencies. The legislature is made up of the senate and the House of Representatives. The state governments are constituted on the federal government model where the three arms create a check and balance for each other. The governor heads the executive arm of the state governments while each state has a state supreme court and a legislature. The local governments are set up depending on the requirements of each state’s constitution. The tiers of the local government include the counties, cities, and towns.
Working together.

The federal government sets up the programs to be implemented in the whole nation. These programs are the pertinent issues falling under the mandate of the federal government and touch on all US citizens. However, the state governments undertake the implementation of these programs. The federal government places requests on the states and local governments, known as federal mandates, to implement its programs. These mandates are either fully funded by the federal government, partially funded by the states and federal government or the unfunded mandates.

Collaboration in Education

As of 2015, there were 54.9 million students in the K-12. 50 million attended the publicly funded schools while the rest attended the privately owned schools. In the primary education category, the federal and state government has differing roles. The federal government, through the federal department of education, engages in the management of the education related critical and emergency issues occurring at the state level. The states are mandated to maintain the public schools and the colleges as well as develop curriculum used within the school in the state.

Funding education

The federal government provides 10.8% of all the funding required for the elementary and secondary school levels. Since the federal government takes care of educational all the states, the funds are provided as categorical grants on a national approach. The states provide the remaining 87.7% of the elementary and secondary school.

Federal mandates in education

Although the federal government provides lesser funds in the elementary and secondary education, it makes the overall guiding policy to be implemented by the states in the education sector. These federal mandates are meant to unify the quality of education in all states such that every child has access to education. It also ensures that all children have access to the same quality level regardless of the states they are learning from.

The federal mandate requires the states to test each student from the third to the twelfth grade in both mathematics and reading. Additionally, each school has to report the grades to both the federal and the state governments. States are expressly required to assist in boosting the score of special interest groups in the society such as the poor, minorities, those with special requirements, and those using language as the second language.

Addressing climate change

Considering that the effects of the climate change are a reality in America, the three government levels collaborate with each to collect data and address the effects. The most recent data shows the last decade was the hottest with the year 2012 being the hottest in the history of the USA. Each level of government takes its primary environmental protection duties serious.

Roles of three levels of government in managing climate change

The federal government is solely responsibility for enacting nationwide legislation to protect the environment and the health of the citizens. However, given that the federal government may not be able to control the environmental issues in each town or county it is necessary to allow the states and local governments to deal with the issues. The Federal government formed the environmental protection agency (EPA) to monitor and regulate the environmental issues in all states. The states and the local government rely on the EPA guidance to legislate environmentally friendly laws. These laws are implemented in each state depending on the environmental issues affecting the specific state.

Environmental Collaboration

Both the federal, state, and local governments collaborate in the identification of the causes of the climatic change and the impacts of these changes to the environment and health of the people. On its part, the federal government identifies the ways where the measurements and monitoring of the greenhouse gas emission can be improved. As a result, the federal government forms the guidelines and regulations to be followed by the companies operating in the USA.

The state and the local governments take the implementation roles to ensure adherence to the guidelines and the regulations. Since the activities likely, to pollute the environment take place within the states, the local governments has to ensure that the firms engaging in any production activity abides by the federal guidelines.

Both federal, state and local government has set several goals to protect the environment, including reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, saving money and improving the air quality and health of the citizens. To achieve these goals, both levels of governments are making investments in efficient ways of using energy and are exploring new and sustainable sources of renewable energy. All governments are also exploring policies and programs to address the climate change.

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