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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Harriett Arnold

Second Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Third Committee Member

Alan Jones


This case study analyzed the roles development and implementation have had in the Eighth-grade Algebra I policy and the California High School Exit Exam policy. From a political, economical, and historical perspective, the intended purposes of many education policies have been distorted due to implementation. By investigating national and California education policies, this case study describes the roles development and implementation have had education policies. In addition, this case study found that the state of education in California is reliant on many mitigating factors affecting education policy development and implementation: Budget cuts, achievement gaps particularly with children of color, and teacher qualification issues. However, systemic education reform requires policy makers to juggle their political affiliations and the needs of students to create policies that improve curriculum, improve student achievement, and supports teachers and administrators. When policy makers do not utilize informed constituencies to assist in policy development, mandates such as the Eighth-grade Algebra I policy are created. Well developed and researched education policies like the California High School Exit Exam, which took about six years to develop before it was implemented in California, was successful because it involved collaboration of various interest groups, educators, local education agencies, and school administrators. Policy makers must learn to work in collaboration with its constituency to develop policies that empower schools to sustain and extend greater individualization on one hand, and broaden community interest on the other. The future of California schools in regard to the Race to the Top policies remain to be seen, but if policy makers rely on the informed voices of education researchers, constituents who are willing to put students' needs before their own political conquests, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students, then California's school will have a future of systemic reform that will be bright.



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