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Colorado's preschool to postsecondary education alignment act: a qualitative approach exploring the policymaking process




Koers, Greg, author
Cooner, Donna, advisor
Coke, Pamela, committee member
Frederiksen, Heidi, committee member
Gloeckner, Gene, committee member

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Within the last 30 years, state initiated education policy reform sharply rose throughout the United States. Among the myriad of reforms, establishing increased collaboration between traditionally separated P12 and higher education systems assumed a prominent stage. In 2009, Colorado established its own version of alignment through Senate Bill 08-212, the Preschool to Postsecondary Education Alignment Act of 2008, commonly referenced as the ColoradoAchievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K). The passage of the bill was swift and demonstrated remarkably high bipartisanship. While policy analysis often analyzes areas of high conflict, there is also a need to understand how policy developed successfully in a collaborative environment. Facilitating this opportunity, the researcher used a qualitative methodology emphasizing three components. First, guided by narrative inquiry, the researcher conducted thematic analysis of interviews from Governor, Bill Ritter, his chief policy advisor, Matt Gianneschi, and an anonymous individual involved with the Colorado Department of Education. Second, using the Advocacy Coalition Framework's (ACF) theory on belief's and advocacycoalitions, the researcher applied the predesignated construct of secondary beliefs to the thematic analysis of education committee hearings. The final component addressed themes identified from the Colorado Department of Education (2009) regarding teachers' concerns on the implementation phase of CAP4K. The findings suggest one dominant advocacy coalition grew within Colorado's education policy subsystem. Additionally, evidence of secondary beliefs did not weaken coalition alignment. Finally, teachers' voices iterated the importance to be included in the decision-making process of implementation.


2019 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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P20 alignment


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