Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kristina Hesbol

Second Advisor

Phyllis Resnick

Third Advisor

Erin Anderson

Fourth Advisor

Jayson W. Richardson


Education finance policy, Student voice


After the Great Recession, a seven percent decrease in funding ended decades of academic growth and further widened the achievement gap between White and Black students (Jackson et al., 2020). Colorado’s school-finance system is particularly distorted and inequitable because of a series of tax-limiting policies which, combined, have led Colorado to become one of the lowest-funded per pupil states in the country (Resnick et al., 2015). The purpose of this study is to describe the policymaking context, as it relates to equity within Colorado’s school-finance system and explore policy alternatives to improve equity within the system. The study was designed as a qualitative case study, conducted in partnership with three youth co-researchers in a modified youth participatory action research methodology. Data analysis was informed by critical policy analysis and critical theory. Study findings were visualized in a policy roadmap, designed for wide distribution across various state stakeholders and decisionmakers. This collaborative study contributes to the nationally emerging youth-led movement that interrupts dominant relationships, repositions power, and charts new territory in youth advocacy (Apple, 2019; Mansfield et al., 2012; Young & Diem, 2017).

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Amy Jo Schwartz


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

226 pgs


Education finance, Education policy