WHAT FEDERAL DISCRETIONARY GRANTS MEAN FOR YOUR STATE
Lynn M. Stuter
January 17, 2003
NewsWithViews.comSpread across the front page of the local newspaper are the headlines that your city, your county, your school district, your state has received a federal grant, also known as a federal discretionary grant. Everyone applauds on cue and the accolades are long and ostentatious, after all a federal grant means "more money."
But does it? Let's look at what a grant, any grant, does for the recipient, the grantee.
To begin the granting process, a law is passed setting up the grant, no matter the purpose of it. Then a law is passed appropriating money to fund that grant. So far, so good ... doesn't seem to be any problem in that.
Next, a request for proposals is issued, known to many of us as a RFP. Not many people know about RFP's, they aren't generally spoken of in association with a grant, the media doesn't make light of them, and they certainly aren't paraded before the eyes of the public. Even so, they are the nucleus around which the granting process revolves.
What does the RFP do? The RFP sets down what the grant application must include if the applicant wishes the application to be considered by the grantor, the federal agency overseeing the grant. This includes requirements of the federal law passed establishing the grant as well as any other laws that the applicant must agree to implement or show are being implemented in order to have the application considered.
The grant application must be signed by an individual with the authority to do so, someone who, obviously, can be held accountable to the grantor. Once the grant application is signed and sent to the grantor, the grant applicant has agreed to abide the terms of the law establishing the grant as well as the RFP governing the grant. Once the granting agency accepts the grant application and a monetary award is announced, the grantor and grantee have entered into a de facto contract that is legally binding and legally enforceable.
States and government institutions in those states receive literally thousands of federal grants in a years time. Every state in the United States received Goals 2000 grant awards. What were they required to do as condition of receipt of that money? They were required to implement the federal Goals 2000 legislation in their state and show, via progress reports, that progress was being made toward that implementation. They were also required to implement or show they had implemented other federal laws peripheral to Goals 2000 and named in the law. When the states received School-to-Work grants, they had to show they were implementing Goals 2000. This is called the "spider-web" effect. Apply and receive one grant, agree to implement and abide by a myriad of federal laws.
Via grants, states have lost their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and are playing the fiddle to the tune of federal laws. Although the Founding Fathers warned repeatedly against allowing the centralization of power to Washington, DC, that is exactly what has happened.
The result has been devastating, in more ways than one. First, let's consider the "international" implications. The U.S. Constitution forbids any state from entering into a treaty with another nation. But the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the power to do so. By the states entering into contracts that essentially bring them under federal control, and the federal government entering into treaties and agreements with foreign powers, treaties and agreements that affect federal legislation, the terms of those treaties and agreements is then enforceable at the state level.
In more recent years, the United States has been an eager and active participant in the United Nation's program, Education for All. The very first World Conference on Education for All was held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990. From that meeting grew the U.S. Coalition for Education for all, which, according to their own documents, "is a diverse network of international, domestic, government and non-government groups, education associations, and individual education, business, media and health leaders." The first meeting was held in 1991, in Alexandria, Virginia; the honorary chair was First Lady Barbara Bush, mother of current president, George Bush.
Does "international" include Russia? No doubt. In 1985, George Schultz, U.S. Secretary of State under the Reagan Administration, signed what is known as the Soviet-American Exchange Agreement, negotiated by Carnegie Corporation, in which the United States agreed to let the Soviets work with the United States in the development of curricula and teaching materials for elementary and secondary school children. In case anyone needs reminding, the U.S.S.R. was and Russia is communist!
Mikhail Gorbachev and his organization, Green Cross International -- working for sustainable development worldwide, residing at the Presidio in San Francisco for many years, has been named "NGO [non-governmental organization] in general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations." For those who need reminding, Gorbachev served as the President of the Soviet Union from 1990-1991 and as General Secretary of the Polit Bureau of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. It is rather doubtful that Gorbachev has abandoned his communist views. Likewise, Ervin Laszlo, born in Budapest, Hungary (communist), consultant to the United Nations, is the author of many books published in the United States on systems theory, the foundation of systems governance, systems education, total quality management, managed health care, and other managed government systems.
The goal of U.S. Education for All meetings: "an action document for shaping education reform initiatives in the United States and other countries" ... "to meet the goals set by the World Conference on Education for All." The action plan was to be shared with, among others ... "major education associations ... the White House, the National Governors Association, and the United States Department of Education." The ultimate goal is the implementation of "sustainable education" (aka, systems education) worldwide.
Still think Goals 2000 is just an "American agenda?" Still think that education reform is "grassroots, bottom-up, and local in flavor?" Still think that education reform doesn't have a "global" vision? In the words of one document that surfaced in Washington state, "think global, act local".
Now let's look at the affect of federal grant money at the state or local level. Grants provide "seed" money to the grantee. What this means is that the grant supplies a percentage of what it will cost the state to implement the federal requirements of the law establishing the grant. In most cases, the federal money equates to pennies on the dollar of the actual cost to implement, operate and maintain the federal law. The bottom line is that via federal grants, the federal government is controlling state budgets.
Local control is dead, long live local control. In states across the United States today, we are hearing the all too familiar cry of budget deficits and budget crunches. Much of the problem is "unfunded mandates" placed on states ... mandates resulting from federal grants to states that require states to come up with the money to implement, operate, and maintain the requirements of federal laws.
At the same time, the United States must abide the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which is encouraging large U.S. companies to locate their headquarters and their industry in other countries, depleting the property tax base and causing rising unemployment in the United States, both affecting state tax revenues.
This has created a vicious downward spiral of the United States economy that will continue so long as the states continue to take federal grants. For some time people advocating transformation to systems governance have stated that we would become a "service" economy with "family-wage jobs". While people have been allowed to believe they would be able to continue to live the lifestyle the American economy has afforded them in the past, a "service economy" is not an industrial economy, and a "family-wage job" is defined by the government, according to the planned sustainable environment of the future, not by the individual.
It is long past time that states invoke and enforce the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and stop the federal government from interfering in the business of the states.
© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nation-wide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas.
Web site: http://www.icehouse.net/lmstuter E-Mail: