Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Cheryl L. Duckworth

Second Advisor

Richard Louis

Third Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko


adultification, conflict resolution, dropout prevention, pushed out, school discipline, testing regimes


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was enacted as an education intervention to close the achievement gap by increasing student attendance, graduation, and standard testing rates. NCLB held teachers and administrators accountable for successfully meeting adequate yearly progress gains. However, the emerging NCLB research uncovered a culture of conflict with academically at-risk students being pushed out of the public school system and rise in disciplinary actions towards minority students. This study employed John Gultang’s structural violence, John Burton’s basic human needs theory, and adultification theory to highlight the significance of understanding the conflict in high-stakes testing regimes. This research employed qualitative narrative analysis to explore how federal education accountability measures influenced the experience of high school teachers and students from the tri-county South Florida area.

The findings concluded the best protective measures for students in high-stakes testing regimes was to incorporate a curriculum that supported the use of more time for teachers to establishing relatable and supportive relationships with students by building a sense of community in the classroom. The implication of this study included encouraging a student and teacher relationship-building curriculum. This study also recommends embedding mandatory teacher professional development training on structural violence, adultification of minority youth, and push-out syndrome to commitment to exposing secret pipeline to prison.