Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Hillary Merk

LC Subjects

Educational equalization--Evaluation; High schools--Social aspects; Assistant school principals; School administrators--Attitudes


This study focuses on the sensemaking of education equity and equity policy of 9-12 grade high school vice principals in Oregon as they implement leadership practices. This case study of vice principal education equity discourse seeks to understand how beliefs, values, and attitudes become enacted in schools’ everyday situations through critical discourse analysis triangulating education equity definitions, district and state equity policies, and vice principal interviews. This study seeks to understand how ideological beliefs influence student outcomes. To further critical understanding of the effects of accountability measures in education policy and shift the focus from a discourse of student meritocracy to one of transformative equity practices, this study questions whether performance measures, such as four-year cohort graduation rates, are influenced by the beliefs, values, attitudes, and education systems more than individual student characteristics, thereby contributing to the maintenance of the achievement gap over time. Three findings came from the study; (a) there was strong ideological unity of equity concepts between state, district, and personal definitions; (b) equity policy does not appear to drive individual leadership practices of vice-principals in the sample; and (c) integrating beliefs of education equity into leadership practices by vice principals appears to be impacted by school and district environments. These findings suggest a mismatch between equity goals and equity practices in many districts and schools; a mismatch maintained by whiteness, ideology, and misunderstanding intent versus impact.


Copyright retained by the author.