Exploring the Misalignment Between State and Federal Policies: Trials and Tribulations in a West Texas School District

James D Anderson, University of Texas at El Paso


AbstractThis dissertation examines the complex interplay between state and federal educational policies and their real-world implications within the Texas public education system. Utilizing an autoethnographic approach, the study delves into the experiences of an educational leader during the so-called West Texas School District Cheating Scandal. This event was not an instance of academic dishonesty but rather a significant misalignment between state mandates and federal requirements, specifically surrounding standardized testing protocols. The narrative, constructed through detailed vignettes, brings to life the educator's struggle against the backdrop of this policy dissonance, offering a rich analysis of the situation's ethical, administrative, and systemic dimensions. The research critically explores the ensuing challenges, such as the misalignment in awarding credits and student grade placements, and the impact on school district operations and educator roles. In synthesizing the findings, Chapter 5 illuminates the pathways for reconciling policy misalignment, emphasizing the importance of ethical leadership, transparent policy development, and responsive localized governance. The dissertation advocates for a strategic framework that prioritizes policy coherence and safeguards educators and districts against the ramifications of such discrepancies. The study offers guidance for stakeholders on improving policy comprehension and coherence, aligning educational aims across state and federal levels with district execution. This inquiry adds depth to the conversation on educational policy and leadership, shedding light on managing legal, ethical, and practical aspects of education. It underlines the importance of ongoing policy assessment and flexibility in the evolving realm of public schooling.Keywords: autoethnography, Cheating Scandal, policy misalignment, standardized testing, educational leadership, ethical governance, educational policy

Subject Area

Education|Educational leadership|Law

Recommended Citation

Anderson, James D, "Exploring the Misalignment Between State and Federal Policies: Trials and Tribulations in a West Texas School District" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30816561.