Which Path to Educational Equity? How External Policy Influences Internal School Goals

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In this manuscript, we will share an experience where our own research with/in teacher education was highly influenced by public policy and narrowed by an outcomes–based approach to learning. We began working in a United States Title I elementary school to understand and describe literacy practice – teaching and learning – through a lens of social justice. However, our effort was largely overshadowed by a new program that was being implemented, without input from school faculty and staff, in all classrooms in this Title I school. This primarily qualitative research study explored the perceptions of elementary school teachers connected to literacy and social justice, determined literacy and social justice practices in elementary school classrooms, and examined the process of teachers’ engaging in a newly implemented, prescriptive program. We focus on the influence of a new school–wide program on literacy teaching and learning practice and the resulting phenomenon of collaboration time and narrowed curriculum and instruction.