Values Comparison Between Policy Intent and Latinx Student Experiences of House Bill 5 High School Requirements
The American dream is based on the idea that everyone should have equal opportunities to succeed. Public education in the U.S. has been touted as the Great Equalizer. Yet, educational outcome and opportunity disparities continue to persist. Economic goals of education have dominated education policy for more than a century with significant influence by business leaders. Issues of inequitable educational opportunities and outcomes must be examined when evaluating education policies. Texas House Bill 5 (HB 5, 2013) is a current example of a significant education reform bill that was driven by business leaders. Historically, education policy has been driven by five values of liberty, equality, fraternity, efficiency, and economic growth, but without equal priority in any one policy. This research study was designed to compare the HB 5 goals and objectives with the actual experiences of Latinx high school students who experienced the implementation of the policy. A phenomenological approach was used to understand the essence of how students experience the implementation of HB 5 using Swanson's Value Framework (1989) as the guide for data analysis. Conclusions from this study indicate that inequality of educational opportunity is perpetuated by HB 5, students are no more prepared for college or career than they were prior to HB 5, job readiness skills should be emphasized over career-specific skills for longer-term success, and creating a sense of community with peers and teachers and connections to community outside of school are also valuable for life after high school.