The impact of U.S. educational policy on the implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme: A case study of an urban, low-income public School

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Heather E. Mills, Ph.D. (California, USA)

There is a fundamental gap in the requirements of the U.S. mandate of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the philosophical tenets of the International Baccalaureate Programme. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to collaborate with veteran teachers in an urban, high-minority, low-income public school to study how they navigate the challenges of NCLB requirements while teaching in an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). Teachers in this situation faced a complex set of conflicting requirements and mandates that often diametrically opposed one another. This study investigated the processes involved in meeting these requirements within the context and atmosphere of educational accountability. Utilizing culturally responsive methodologies, the five participating teachers were involved in all aspects of the study, including the design, research questions, and analysis. The co-construction of the study served to disrupt the traditional power imbalance between the researcher and participants by recognizing teachers as experts in the field of education and assuming a stance of humility on the part of the researcher. A grounded theory analysis yielded two main themes that captured the essence of the participants’ experiences. These themes aided in the development of a conceptual framework illustrating instances of conformity (active and reactive) and resistance (unquestioned and compromised) enacted by teachers in order to adapt to competing paradigms.

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