Period 5 – Meikle
October 18, 2014
The Help of Grants
Isn’t it quite amazing to find such talent in our 40th President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan? Not only has he successfully had careers in acting, televising, and governing the state of California, but he has also managed to become a successful president. During his presidency he has managed to up-lift states’ rights around the nation, giving them their own choices in how to spend their grants. By consolidating grants into block grants, he was successfully capable of giving states the chance to do so. While this decision had negative effects, it was also very beneficial to some aspects of the states. States’ rights were significant to Reagan, as he believed it is the upmost importance that states are to be respected and given the opportunity to run their communities as they felt is necessary. As stated in his campaign, “I believe in state's rights; I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level… I'm going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.” (Reagan, 1980) This was basically the mantra for Reagan, giving the people the hope that the states and communities will finally be able to enact on what they believe should be handled. The local government in those states would be able to choose which programs in their community deserved to be funded. This sought out to be a better solution since the local governments are better at identifying where the money should be spend in their states rather than the federal government, who only have a broad view on the state issues. Categorical grants were the solution before Reagan and they weren’t the most effective. They did have their advantages like having more money along with the grant, but its detriment involved the money being spent on specific things that may not be needed in specific states. As an example, say the government gave a categorical grant of 1 million dollars to a state, but to spend strictly on textbooks for schools. That state might not even need textbooks, but they are required to spend that money in order to benefit as much as they can from this grant. Moreover, a block grant is to be initiated in order to broaden the way the state is to be spending the grant. Furthering on the example beforehand, that 1 million dollars can now be spend on whatever the state deem is necessary for benefiting the schools. Now that money can be spent not only on textbooks, but also papers, pencils, etc., which gives the state more responsibility and governing power.
Even if the block grants do seem more reliable than categorical, the result of Reagan consolidating to block grants had a slight down-fall. Sometimes the government would focus on states with schools that had large enrollments in order to determine how much money states were granted, but even if the state did receive a large grant, sometimes those schools that determined the amount of so-called grant don’t even benefit from it. Basically, the states used the presence of the minorities to get money, but then did not award them the money. Furthermore, state education agencies thought it was more pressing to aid suburban areas because those areas have higher voting rates