ERIC Number: ED384131
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-May
Citizens, Clients, And Consumers: Building Social Capital.
Wehlage, Gary G.; White, Julie A.
This paper addresses the potential of various proposals to reform a broad group of human-service organizations. It challenges two reform strategies that currently receive considerable attention. One strategy promotes collaboration among human-service organizations in an effort to deliver services to clients more efficiently and effectively. A second approach relies on a marketplace model to give consumers of services greater choice in an effort to make organizations more responsive to people's needs. It is argued that these two reform strategies focus too much on process--collaboration and consumer choice--and fail to give adequate considerations to outcomes and goals. They both take for granted the goal of increasing the independence of individual clients or consumers. They fail to address the collective needs of people and communities and do not recognize membership in a community as a resource. In contrast, the paper argues that the goal of human services should be to foster interdependence among people through the development of "social capital"--strengthening the organization of families, neighborhoods, and communities. New York City's Beacons program, in which citizen participation is a norm, is described as a promising example of the school-centered, citizen-participation model of institutional reform. (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.