Implementing language policy for deaf students from Spanish-speaking homes: The case of agents in a Texas school district
Language policy implementation is a complex, multilayered process that produces both planned and unplanned outcomes. Understanding the policy implementation process can be achieved by identifying the agents, layers, and processes of language planning and policy activities, analyzing the layers independently, and examining the relationships among the layers. With respect to deaf education policy, such a multidimensional approach calls for attention to federal, state, and district guidelines as well as to how individuals act as policy-implementing agents when determining appropriate educational contexts for deaf students. Considering these dimensions, this thesis begins by explicating how U.S. special education policy functions as de facto language policy for deaf students. A textual analysis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 is presented highlighting ways in which agents can pry open implementational space that promotes multilingual, multimodal education. Turning to implementation in local contexts, I draw on data from a multi-sited, qualitative case study of a Texas school district to show how individuals (un)knowingly act as policy-implementing agents and how their beliefs about language and education policy influences the degree to which they open up multilingual, multimodal ideological and implementational space within deaf education policies. Implications for deaf students' access to multilingual, multimodal educational environments are discussed, illuminating how deaf students' language acquisition is influenced by the educational contexts within which they are placed.