Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Robert Lake

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

William Schubert

Committee Member 3 Email



This dissertation is a series of speculative essays (Schubert, 1991) that address the forces of neoliberalism on schools today– both public and private. While there have been studies on the detrimental effects of high-stakes testing on public schools (e.g., Au, 2015; Giroux, 2014; Wacquant, 2000) as well as the associated harmful effects of school to prison pipeline (e.g., Saltman, 2016; Taubman, 2009), there remains little research associated with the damaging impacts of neoliberalism on Christian schools. Building upon the theoretical framework of critical pedagogy (e.g., Friere, 1970; Kincheloe, 2008; McLaren, 2015), I undertake a critical examination of neoliberalism’s calculated efforts on schools (e.g., Gallager, 2007; Giroux, 2008; Kumar,2012; Ryan, 2016) and its dangers to both public and Christian schools--an on-going threat of losing additional Constitutional democratic values that were designed to provide equal treatment for all students. I investigate the damages associated with the one-size-fits-all curriculum implemented initially through the No Child Left Behind legislation in 2002. Through the lenses of my past experiences as a Christian school principal and as an educator, I share with the reader impacts on Christian schools and their primary constituents, middle class families.

The dissertation includes my suggestions based upon critical pedagogical research that schools should consider as they move forward in the 21st century. Drawing from Schwab (1978) and the four identified commonplaces of curriculum and more recently, Lake (2014), I examine how each commonplace complements the other in my ideal school. I propose long-term relationships between teachers and students over multiple years. Within such a context, the student and teacher learn from each other beginning at the kindergarten level. Students having opportunities to bond with teachers (e.g., Noddings, 2005) is at the core of such a curriculum where relationships and trust replace the current trend of teaching to the test. I emphasize the need for beginning teachers to practice their skills during an internship period of several years alongside a mentor teacher with reduced class sizes. The dissertation concludes by addressing current inhibiting forces conflicting with implementing this child-centered format for learning.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material