A critical policy analysis of Texas’ Closing the Gaps 2015


  • Katherine Cumings Mansfield Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Stefani Leigh Thachik Virginia Commonwealth University




educational pipeline, P-20, P-16, critical policy analysis, social justice, critical race theory


This critical policy analysis uses critical race theory to provide a counter narrative to the P-16 initiative in Texas known as Closing the Gaps 2015. Findings indicate that while these reforms aim to increase educational access and achievement for people of color, they fall short of addressing systemic inequities such as enduring segregation and unconstitutional school finance policy. Using Texas as a case study illumines the ways the growing number of P-16 councils throughout the US might adapt and improve policy development and implementation to more adequately address educational inequities across racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. The article closes with recommendations for Texas’ reiteration of Closing the Gaps 2015, titled 60x30TX, currently in revision to guide state education goals in 2016-2030.


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Author Biographies

Katherine Cumings Mansfield, Virginia Commonwealth University

Katherine Cumings Mansfield (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Mansfield’s interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the social, historical, and political contexts of education and the relationship of class, gender, race/ethnicity, and religion on educational and vocational access and achievement. Mansfield has presented at American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, National Summit on Interdistrict Desegregation at Harvard Law School, Legal and Policy Options for Racially Integrated Education in the South and the Nation at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law, and University Council for Educational Administration. Mansfield has published in a variety of venues including: Educational Administration Quarterly, Education Policy Analysis Archives, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and International Journal of Multicultural Education. In 2012, Dr. Mansfield was awarded the "Leadership for Social Justice Dissertation Award," sponsored by AERA's Leadership for Social Justice Special Interest Group and the "Selma Greenberg Outstanding Dissertation Award," sponsored by AERA's Research on Women and Education Special Interest Group for her dissertation entitled, "Troubling Social Justice in a Single-sex Public School: An Ethnography of an Emerging School Culture."

Stefani Leigh Thachik, Virginia Commonwealth University

Stefani Leigh Thachik is a PhD candidate in leadership and policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Thachik has a Masters in Counselor Education and Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education from Clemson University. Currently, her work includes investigating the sociocultural contexts of educational policy and practice as well as how connecting the K-12 and Higher Education sectors might result in better outcomes for underrepresented students. Thachik has presented at American Educational Research Association and University Council for Educational Administration. 




How to Cite

Mansfield, K. C., & Thachik, S. L. (2016). A critical policy analysis of Texas’ Closing the Gaps 2015. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 3. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.1991