The Nested Doll Trilemma: A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Quality In NC Pre-K Policy And Practice

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin Kate West (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Vachel Miller

Abstract: Using the theoretical framework of social constructionism (Berger & Luckmann, 1966), methodology of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2012), and method of concentrated looking (Diem & Young, 2018), this dissertation is a critical discourse analysis of quality in NC Pre-Kindergarten (NC Pre-K) policies and interviews. I analyzed quality in policy and practice and used the metaphor of nesting matryoshka dolls combined with Bronfenbrenner’s (1979b) ecological systems theory. I used snowball sampling to analyze 170 NC Pre-K policies and conducted a discourse analysis of 40 governing policies based on relevance to quality in NC Pre-K. I also conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 NC Pre-K stakeholders at each layer of the nested ecosystem: macrosystem (NC legislators), exosystem (NC state NC Pre-K directors), mesosystem (district administrators and NC Pre-K coordinators), microsystem (school principals), and individual (NC Pre-K teachers). Based on the discourse analysis of policies, literature review, and interviews, I argue that quality in NC Pre-K policy and practice align with aspects of the early care and education (ECE) trilemma (Morgan, 1986; NAEYC, 1987). These three aspects of the trilemma – availability, affordability, and quality of teacher and program – represent the aspects of quality as defined in policies and the interviews. To improve the quality of NC Pre-K through all aspects of the trilemma, I recommend improving principal training, increasing budgets, consolidating governing organizations into one, updating and improving the QRIS evaluation instrument, improving collaboration, and re-centering care and play.

Additional Information

West, E. (2022). The Nested Doll Trilemma: A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Quality In NC Pre-K Policy And Practice. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2022
quality, trilemma, discourse, NC Pre-K, early care and education (ECE), ecological systems theory, social constructionism

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