Faith-Based Initiatives in Practice in Philadelphia

June 28, 2001

Source: The Washington Post

On June 28, 2001, The Washington Post published an editorial by George Will in which he wrote about John Street, who, "as mayor,...has made Philadelphia the foremost laboratory for what President Bush calls 'faith-based initiatives.'... Every day approximately 20,000 students...are unexcused absentees from among Philadelphia's 214,000 public school students. So the plan is for every absent student's household to receive a taped call from the mayor -- his voice -- noting the child's absence, and for volunteers from faith-based organizations to contact the family within 24 hours." Street said that "the people arguing about constitutional niceties aren't going to roll up their sleeves and do [what needs to be done to meet kids' needs]." Faith-based "organizations, he says, shouldn't be 'challenged and beaten back every time they think of doing something.'"