ERIC Number: ED364992
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Community Collaboration: If It Is Such a Good Idea, Why Is It So Hard To Do?
White, Julie A.; Wehlage, Gary
This paper describes one effort to establish a collaborative around the issues of at-risk youth. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's New Futures Initiative was an attempt to build formal structures of collaboration among public and private organizations to address at-risk youth. Data were gathered over 5 years from the six cities in which the program was implemented--Dayton, Ohio; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Little Rock, Arkansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Savannah, Georgia; and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Most observers agree that reality fell considerably short of the foundation's vision. This paper explains the disparity between theory and practice in community collaboration by analyzing three broad issues that plagued New Futures collaboratives: (1) slippage between policy intent and street-level action; (2) disjuncture between policy and actual social conditions; and (3) the need to build "social capital" to improve at-risk youths' life chances. In conclusion, organizations dominated by high-level decision makers and experts tend to become paternalistic, which undermines the fundamental goals of the collaborative. The recommendation is made to reconceptualize efforts at collaboration by turning to the community itself for additional expertise. (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.