Access to this thesis is limited to Boise State University students and employees or persons using Boise State University facilities.

Off-campus Boise State University users: To download Boise State University access-only theses/dissertations, please select the "Off-Campus Download" button and enter your Boise State username and password when prompted.

Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Dissertation - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Young Baek, Ph.D.

Major Advisor

Arturo Rodriguez, Ph.D.


Lisa Beamer, Ed.D.


Phil Kelly, Ph.D.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


Neoliberal ideas and ideology dominated education policy for the last 40 years with the promise that public education will thrive under competition and accountability; the idea of “our failing schools” pre-dominates the education narrative today. Families empowered by neoliberal discourse are expected to choose their way out of impoverished neighborhoods and failing traditional public schools. This neoliberal discourse drives the education market by promoting competition, accountability, and innovation so that all public schools might prosper. However, when we consider neoliberalist ideas like cultural power partnered with one’s desire to ensure academic success, decisions become overwhelming and burdensome, especially for special education teachers and families. The decisions imposed upon educators and families often conflict with individual perspectives. This phenomenological collective case study explored the tensions between teachers' and families' perspectives and ideas about education and their lived experiences when positioned to make decisions that are in the best interest of students with disabilities.


Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025