Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Jason Endacott

Committee Member

Freddie Bowles

Second Committee Member

Chris Goering

Third Committee Member

Janine Parry


bilingual education, education policy, immigration policy, state legislatures, teacher diversity, TESOL


Immigrants, English learners (ELs), and culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD)students often lag behind their White, monolingual peers in academic achievement and English language proficiency. While there are policy solutions to improve academic and linguistic opportunities and outcomes for immigrant/EL/CLD students, such as implementing bilingual instructional models and increasing teacher diversity, these pro-immigrant policies can be hard to come by in some legislative contexts due to unfavorable economic, social, or political determinants. This qualitative case study analyzed the multifaceted political work that contributed to the passage of two pro-immigrant education policies in the Arkansas 93rd General Assembly: a bill for bilingual education and dual immersion programs and a bill to expand teacher licensure to noncitizens with DACA. The three-phase qualitative methodology led to four key findings: the unfavorable determinants for pro-immigrant policy adoption within the legislative context, the primacy and centrality of interest convergence in the political work that mitigated those determinants, the unexpected salience of educational interests in the policy debate, and the influence of educator expertise and practice in garnering support for the two proposals. These findings led to the development of the “5E” framework of political work: emulate prior successes, ensure bipartisan support, employ interest convergence, educate using best practices, and elevate heroic voices. This framework, while context-specific, has implications for pro-immigrant education policy advocacy in other challenging contexts.