Politics, policy, and normative state culture : Texas trafficking policy and education as a medium for social change

dc.contributor.advisorHolme, Jennifer Jellisonen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGonzález-López, Gloriaen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberReyes, Pedroen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSalinas, Cinthiaen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberValenzuela, Angelaen
dc.creatorLemke, Melinda Anneen
dc.date.submittedDecember 2015en
dc.description.abstractOver the last two decades, human trafficking has become a significant international, United States, and individual state policy issue. Non-governmental organizations and various academic disciplines have augmented emphasis on trafficking and commercial exploitation. Despite its significance as a policy issue, there is a dearth of educational policy research and K-12 professional knowledge about trafficking, a pressing global issue in need of innovative policy and programmatic solutions. K-12 educational personnel have daily contact with students placing them on the “front line” of trafficking identification and prevention. Despite being mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse, educators often lack professional development or have limited access to service referral information. In 2013 the 83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1272 (HB 1272), which mandated that the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force (Task Force) create a K-12 curriculum on trafficking dynamics to assist with statewide trafficking efforts. A first of its kind in Texas legislative history, HB 1272 also is one of few state policies focused on including educational staff in policy-driven solutions to the eradication of a gross human rights abuse. Through a multifocal theoretical approach, in this study I frame key trafficking dynamics, the policy context, and examine a new area of educational policy research – how Texas policy includes educational personnel in helping to identify and prevent trafficking. Through a two-part qualitative study, political and normative dynamics that shaped the creation of HB 1272, as well as the organizational, political, and normative dynamics contributing to policy implementation are examined. Using qualitative methodology, data collection and analysis included 79 documents, 15 in-depth, semi-structured interviews, 1 informal interview, and 15 hours of participant observation. The first findings chapter on the Texas Legislature points to expedited, uncontested, and bipartisan enactment of a political and normatively-driven policy topic. Respondents perceive educators to be on the “front line” of statewide trafficking identification and prevention efforts. Yet, legislative efforts bent on involving educational personnel in this policy arena are complicated by an inconsistent legislative knowledge base about state trafficking policy history and key trafficking dynamics. Despite the appearance of bipartisan support for this legislation, slippage was identified in areas such as the lack of funding for HB 1272 curriculum development and concerns about local education control. Finally, normative dynamics that intertwine with identified political issues could impede effective implementation of HB 1272 and the development of “multisector” trafficking prevention. Overall, findings demonstrate a mixed legislative will to address trafficking through HB 1272 and public education. The second findings chapter covers the Task Force Education Workgroup, the entity charged with HB 1272’s implementation. Participant observation and document analysis reveal an implementation process rooted in compromise between a limited number of stakeholders and the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Respondent interviews point to the Workgroup constituting an elite implementation community based on member knowledge about trafficking and access to implementation processes. Yet, implementation slippage was found through issues like a lack of educator participation, “behind-the-scenes” curriculum development, and OAG influence on implementation. Finally, despite clear policy gains for statewide trafficking efforts, a range of normative roadblocks could impede the successful implementation of HB 1272. Overall, findings reveal that intertwined organizational, political, and normative dynamics influenced how implementation actors interpreted and implemented HB 1272. The conclusion summarizes research findings, covers implications for research and theory, and offers policy and practitioner recommendations.en
dc.description.departmentEducational Administrationen
dc.subjectTexas educational policyen
dc.subjectHuman trafficking policyen
dc.subjectVulnerable youthen
dc.subjectK-12 educator identification and prevention programmingen
dc.subjectTexas House Bill 1272en
dc.subjectPolicy implementationen
dc.subjectQualitative methodologyen
dc.subjectFeminist standpoint researchen
dc.subjectMultifocal theoryen
dc.subjectPolitical, normative, and organizational dynamicsen
dc.subjectElite policy actorsen
dc.subjectPolitical symbolismen
dc.titlePolitics, policy, and normative state culture : Texas trafficking policy and education as a medium for social changeen