Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2017


A Nation at Risk (ANAR) represented a paradigm shift in national education policy and public education discourse. This Critical Discourse Analysis utilizing the theoretical framework of Fairclough and Wodak (1997) found five major recurring themes between ANAR, national and state discourse, and NMTEACH (as referenced in the Final Report and Recommendations of the New Mexico Effective Teaching Task Force, 2011): 1) The Establishment of Pedagogic Authority; 2) The Common-Senseness of Education; 3) Anti-Teacher Rhetoric and the Artificial Support of Teachers; 4) Deracialisation of Educational Policy and Color-Blind Ideology; and 5) The Movement from Symbolic to Physical Violence. This study has uncovered how both public discourse and NMTEACH not only re-discourse the symbolic violence of ANAR, but how the thematic elements of ANAR are continually reproduced under the guise of “cutting-edge” educational research and policy.

The past three decades of educational reform and policy have created a War Against Teachers, from the federal to the state level. While the stated intentions of policy pieces have had altruistic roots or different intentions, what has ultimately emerged is a symbolically violent war against the profession of teaching, which has dehumanized generations of teachers. Teachers have become the scapegoat of all of the ills of public education, while businesses have greatly profited from the marketization of education and the deskilling of teachers. This hermeneutical and reproductive cycle must be broken in New Mexico and nationally while a new educational paradigm must emerge.


New Mexico, New Mexico Public Education Department, Critical Discourse Analysis, A Nation At Risk, Education Policy

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ricky Lee Allen

Second Committee Member

Glenabah Martinez

Third Committee Member

Kersti Tyson

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Howell