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Study: Community Groups Vital for LSCs, CAPS

With the institution of local school councils and community policing, Chicago has become the leader among large American cities in terms of participatory governance, according to Professor Archon Fung of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Fung recently completed a study of LSCs and CAPS in six Chicago neighborhoods. He found that community programs increased participation in low-income neighborhoods and encouraged creativity. “The quality of discussion really depends on whether or not there are people from outside the neighborhood providing training and facilitating discussion,” he said, especially in factional disputes hinging on race or class or dividing residents and officials; outside advisers “can move things along and provide a neutral point of view.”

Given the natural reluctance of officials to relinquish power and control, community organizations play a crucial role in organizing parents and residents so there’s a better balance of power and more democratic process, he said. Fung’s book, “Empowering Participatory Governance: Reinventing Urban Democracy,” will be published next year by Princeton University Press.

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Category: Archive, CPS, police, school reform, schools

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