Federal Federal File

Hope and Faith

By Michelle R. Davis — February 23, 2005 1 min read

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.”

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

President and CEO
Alexandria, Virginia
National Association of State Boards of Education
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.

Read Next

Federal Congress Again Tries to Pass Eagles Act, Focused on School Shootings After Parkland
A group of bipartisan Congressional lawmakers is once again trying to get a law passed aimed at preventing school violence.
Devoun Cetoute & Carli Teproff
2 min read
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Some Districts Extend Paid Leave Policies as They Hope for Passage of Biden Relief Plan
With federal provisions having expired, some school employees have had to dip into their own banks of leave for COVID-19 purposes.
5 min read
Linda Davila-Macal, a seventh grade reading teacher at BL Garza Middle School in Edinburg, Texas, works from her virtual classroom at her home on Aug. 31, 2020.
A teacher leads a virtual classroom from her home.
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
Federal President Biden Is Walking a 'Careful Tightrope' When It Comes to School Reopenings
CDC guidance and confusion over his rhetoric turn up the pressure, and could overshadow progress in schools and nuanced public opinion.
9 min read
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Feb. 16, 2021.
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event in Milwaukee earlier this month.
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal White House Unveils New Money to Aid COVID-19 Testing in Schools, But Says More Is Needed
Federal agencies will use $650 million to expand testing in schools and "underserved communities" such as homeless shelters.
2 min read
Image of a coronavirus test swab.
The White House announced new money to help schools test students and staff for COVID-19, but it said more aid is necessary to scale up those efforts.
E+