Federal File

Hope and Faith

Administration Criticized on Its Commitment to Faith-Based Efforts

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

A former White House official leveled criticism at the Bush administration last week over its so-called faith-based agenda, saying that efforts to promote the initiative have been more public relations than substance.

David Kuo, who spent more than two years working in the White House and eventually became the deputy director of President Bush’s faith-based initiative, lashed out at the “compassionate conservative” effort in a column on www.Beliefnet.com, a Web site about religion.

The president launched the faith-based initiative upon taking office four years ago to invite greater participation by religious groups in federal grant programs for such services as drug rehabilitation and after-school tutoring. Mr. Bush argued that religious groups had been mostly shut out of such participation in the past, and that they were well suited to provide such services.

Mr. Kuo wrote in his online column that despite professing his commitment to the idea, Mr. Bush hadn’t proposed to put money where faith-based groups could tap into it. One problem, Mr Kuo wrote, was that in Congress, “Republican indifference couldn’t overcome knee-jerk Democratic opposition.” But he said that “Capitol Hill gridlock could have been smashed by minimal West Wing effort,” which never came.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan defended the efforts last week and said the initiative remains a “high priority” for the president.

At the Department of Education, one of 10 federal agencies to have its own office focusing on improving the participation of faith-based and community groups in federal programs, drawing religious groups into the federal grantmaking process has seen an increase.

In fiscal 2001, $2.8 million, or 2.4 percent of the department’s discretionary-grant programs, went to faith-based groups. By fiscal 2003, those figures grew to $6.8 million, or 5.1 percent of grants. Numbers for fiscal 2004 are not yet final, said department spokeswoman Susan Aspey.

Though Ms. Aspey declined to address Mr. Kuo’s comments, she said the Education Department has made significant efforts to reach out to such groups, through conferences to help guide them through the grant-application process, technical assistance, Webcasts, and an e-mail listserv to more than 20,000 community and faith-based groups.

“We have quite an effort here,” she said. “We’ve really been working hard to get the job done.”

Vol. 24, Issue 24, Page 29

Published in Print: February 23, 2005, as Hope and Faith

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >