Date of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Jeffrey Kuzmic, PhD

Second Advisor

Karen Monkman, PhD

Third Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD


This critical and philosophical study explores the relationship between globalization, the evolution of structural education reform policy (i.e., the standards and accountability movement), and the purpose of secondary history/social studies education in American society. From A Nation at Risk to Obama’s A Blueprint for Reform, federal education policy has narrowed the vision of public education in the United States for the past 30 years.

The purpose of this study is three-fold: 1. question the purpose of history/social studies education in light of the effects of globalization on American public education reform; 2. propose a new rationale for world history curriculum in secondary education; and 3. reconceptualize a curriculum that is responsive to students living in a 21st century global society. I conducted critical discourse analysis (CDA) on the five federal policies since 1983 to explore the evolution of structural education reform and its effects on public education. The findings highlighted a shift in policy that now focuses on the economic potential of the individual in the global economy rather than a traditional democratic, socio-political purpose in the development of society. CDA also was conducted on current history/social studies standards—three state frameworks (Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York) and the Common Core Standards—to understand the influence of policy on what and how history/social studies education is taught in the U.S. All four frameworks reflect the focus on standards-based education reform, but the state frameworks more so reflect the traditional purpose of education where the Common Core Standards reflect the narrowed focus on skill-based learning.

Based on the research and discourse analysis conducted in this study, I developed an epistemological overview of a reconceptualized world history curriculum that argues for an interdisciplinary social studies course entitled “Comparative Global Studies.” The conceptual foundation is based on Pinar’s reconceptualization theory, M. Singh’s concept of responsive education, and the learning theory of critical constructivism, which supports a curriculum that critically engages students with the current state of our world in light of globalization and how they as individuals and part of a greater collective are situated within the 21st century global society.

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