Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Stephen M. Fain

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mohammed Farouk

Third Advisor's Name

Robert V. Farrell

Fourth Advisor's Name

Rebecca M. Salokar

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to analyze the evolution of Florida state level policy efforts and to assess the responding educational policy development and implementation at the local school district level. The focus of this study was the secondary language arts curriculum in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Data was collected using document analysis as a source of meaning making out of the language sets proffered by agencies at each level. A matrix was created based on Klein's levels of curriculum decision-making and Functional Process Theory categories of policy formation. The matrix allowed the researcher to code and classify specific information in terms accountability/high-stakes testing; authority; outside influences; and operational/structural organization.

Federal policy documents provided a background and impetus for much of what originated at the State level. The State then produced policy directives which were accepted by the District and specific policy directives and guidelines for practice. No evidence was found indicating the involvement of any other agencies in the development, transmission or implementation of the State level initiated policies.

After analyzing the evolutionary process, it became clear that state policy directives were never challenged or discussed. Rather, they were accepted as standards to be met and as such, school districts complied. Policy implementation is shown to be a top-down phenomenon. No evidence was found indicating a dialogue between state and local systems, rather the state, as the source of authority, issued specifically worded policy directives and the district complied. Finally, this study recognizes that outside influences play an important role in shaping the education reform policy in the state of Florida. The federal government, through NCLB and other initiatives created a climate which led almost naturally to the creation of the Florida A+ Plan. Similarly, the concern of the business community, always interested in the production of competent workers, continued to support efforts at raising the minimum skill level of Florida high school graduates.

Suggestions are made for future research including the examination of local school sites in order to assess the overall nature of the school experience rather than rely upon performance indicators mandated by state policy.





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