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Optional readings:

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This assignment is intended to help you learn to do the following:

Examine how federalism affects government and nonprofit organizations.
Analyze the interaction between national, state, and local governments.
Reflect on federalism and its practical impact.
For this assignment you will respond to some questions about how national, state, and local governments responded in New Orleans, Louisiana after it was hit by Hurricane Katrina on Monday, August 29, 2005 at 8 am. As you respond to these questions, keep in mind the concepts you have learned in your required reading about federalism and intergovernmental relations and how these affect the Red Cross.

Action Items
Complete required reading, including:
WGBH Educational Foundation. Gaviria, M. & Smith, M. Producers. (2005). Frontline: The storm, “Chapter 1: Chaos and tragedy” (Links to an external site.) . Retrieved from
Derthick, M. (2007). “Where federalism didn’t fail”. Public Administration Review December Supplement (67)1s, p. 36-44 only. “Where Federalism Didn’t Fail” (Links to an external site.). Public Administration Review December Special Issue (67) s1, p. 36-44 only.
Optional Readings:

“Debunking the myths of Hurricane Katrina” (Links to an external site.). (2006, February 15). In Popular Mechanics – PDF Version attached

U.S. House of Representatives (2006). Executive Summary from A failure of initiative: Final report of the select bipartisan committee to investigate the preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina, U.S. House of Representatives, p. 1-6 only – Provides a summary analysis of the government response to Katrina. _ attached as a PDF
Write a 2-3 paragraph response to each of the questions listed below. You are not expected to write a scholarly paper. However, if you refer to information you gained from your required (or optional) reading, you are expected to include citations that follow APA guidelines. Your submission also needs to have a cover-page, headers, page numbers, and 12-point font in accordance with APA formatting guidelines (Links to an external site.).
What role did each level of government (local, state, national) play in response to Hurricane Katrina? Which level was most responsible for the failure to effectively respond? Which level responded most effectively? Explain your answer and support it with citations from the required reading and video.
How did the federal structure contribute to the failure to effectively respond, if at all? Did the system provide any advantages in the response? What does this tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of a federalist system? Explain your answer and support it with citations from the required reading.
Would the response have been more effective if the U.S. had had a unitary system or if we were a confederation? (See figure 4.1). How important is the system of government versus the people working in the system? Explain your answer and support it with citations from the required reading.
Figure 4.1: Comparing and Contrasting Systems

Adapted from: Scott, G.M. (Ed.). Choices: a customized political science reader. (2013). Boston. Pearson Longman Educators.


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