Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marci Major, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kathryn Solic, Ph.D.


This research examines the experiences of K-12 curricular decision-makers in their consideration of service-learning curricula within their schools and districts. Recent evidence indicates service-learning offerings have decreased in K-12 schools in the last decade (The Education Commission on the States), and this research utilizes qualitative inquiry and a critical theory framework to understand this phenomenon via the lived experiences of educators with service-learning and the conditions at play that impact its inclusion and exclusion from schools. The findings consider the similarities and contradictions educators face, the policies and experiences that frame their perspectives of service-learning, and its accessibility within their schools. The findings indicate a shared acknowledgement to the academic, developmental, and socio-emotional benefits service-learning curriculums afford students based on the first-hand and professional experiences of educators. Participants offered divergent perspectives around how their school incorporates service-learning, the drive behind its inclusion, and the challenges encountered in considering and offering service opportunities. Utilizing a critical theory theoretical framework, I conclude that hegemonic curricular priorities negatively impact the prioritization of service-learning curriculums and the potential impact this can have on student humanization, as well as the influences of power in curricular decision-making and where decision-makers find emancipation from these hegemonic forces.