Unity vs. Plurality: An Investigation of Tensions and Paradoxes in Educational Policy and Practice
AuthorFetman, Lisa Jean
Curriculum and leadership
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation presents three manuscripts that examine how present unity policies in education conflict with an increasingly pluralistic student population. Using a nuanced theoretical grounding and multifaceted research methodology, I deconstruct this tension to uncover a paradox in educational policymaking and practice, wherein policies and structures that claim to create 'equality' essentially lead to inequitable outcomes. Two empirical examples from Arizona schools illustrate the challenges of multicultural education amidst demands for unity; the first paper draws on a study of the enactment of Arizona's language policy within one low-performing high school with a high population of multilingual and immigrant students, and illustrates how the policy restricts both educators and students. The second study examines the leadership and curricular structures in a high-performing school with shifting demographics, and how those structures lead to misrecognition of culturally diverse students. In response to the challenges posed in the two empirical pieces, I present a paper in which I draw from both studies to illustrate the unity/plurality paradox in education, and then present an educational response to the challenges of that paradox in an increasingly global world, which focuses on forming a new, reflective approach to understanding policy and curriculum beyond normative binaries.
Degree ProgramGraduate College