Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Kathy Swan


This dissertation includes three articles that focus on local, state, and/or national influences on the development and implementation of state standards for social studies. Each article provides insights into how external influences at various levels can mediate the enactment, understanding, and/or adhering of state-level standards.

Article One, “The State of Social Studies Standards: What Is the Impact of the C3 Framework?” (2021) is a national case study that examines the impact the C3 (College, Career and Civic Life) Framework had in influencing the development of fifty state standards and the District of Columbia. The C3 framework pulls together content, concepts, and skills to support social studies standards development across the country. Using an inductive qualitative approach to analysis, this article revealed that the C3 Framework has had a substantial but varied influence on thirty-two states. Analysis of findings offer a heuristic for understanding the variation in influence that the C3 Framework has in its ninth year of existence. This article also makes clear the need for further study into how the C3 Framework, through varied state-level approaches, influences curriculum development, instructional approaches, and professional development.

Article Two, “Policy Letter to Kentucky Representative Tina Bojanowski: What is my response?” is an explanatory, evidence-driven policy letter to a state representative in response to lobbying efforts by a Kentucky organization to undermine and reconsider the adoption of Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies. As a member of the Interim Joint Committee on Education, Representative Bojanowski sought to better understand the claims made against the KAS for Social Studies and to address implications about the standards process, curriculum, and assessment. As a co-creator of the standards and a curricular lead for the largest and most diverse district in the state, the author of this dissertation was in an ideal position to submit an argument-based response to the Representative. The policy letter submitted to Rep. Bojanowski traced state statutes, clarified misconceptions, contextualized concerns, demonstrated clear connections between standards and Jefferson County Public Schools curriculum, and helped inform representatives and the Kentucky Department of Education about the practice-based realities of altering the standards. Consequently, the letter was shared with the Kentucky Board of Education, as well as the rest of the Kentucky Education Committee. As an authentic example of how evidence-based research can and should inform practice, Article Two serves as an illustrative policy document for practicing instructional, curricular, and district leaders and administrators.

Article Three, “Bringing application of state standards and local policy processes to the implementation of local curriculum development: How can we implement new standards while adhering to Jefferson County Public Schools’ Racial Equity Policy?” uses a content analysis approach to examine how a single district’s policy can influence the development of curriculum while simultaneously aligning to standards. Guided by a zone of mediation theoretical lens, this article outlines how normative, technical, and political forces mediate an equity-oriented educational policy in ways that transform curriculum. In so doing, article three reveals the need for curriculum writers to think ambitiously and creatively to design state level policies in ways that local contexts can adapt while maintaining integrity to initial policy intentions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)