Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Norma Marrun

Second Committee Member

Christine Clark

Third Committee Member

Iesha Jackson

Fourth Committee Member

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

Fifth Committee Member

Tibero Garza

Number of Pages



Across the United States, state legislatures have passed laws requiring teachers to teach culturally inclusive curriculum on diversity topics such as race, racism, sexism, gender, and systemic inequality, however, some have prohibited teachers from doing so. A culturally inclusive curriculum honors the perspectives, ideas, and histories of diverse racial and ethnic groups and other marginalized groups excluded from the official curriculum. Given the new laws and policies, little research exists regarding how teachers in states adopting a culturally inclusive curriculum implement these statutory requirements.In 2015, Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 234 (AB 234), a bill for multicultural education requirements for both teachers and students. The addition of the multicultural content theme and standards to the social studies standards was a new requirement in Nevada law. AB 234 required that multicultural standards be added to the Nevada academic Content Standards for Social Studies and that newly licensed Nevada teachers complete academic coursework in multicultural education for licensure renewal. Social studies teachers in Nevada struggle to effectively use and implement the multicultural content standards for students. There is limited evidence regarding how Nevada social studies teachers plan or teach the new multicultural content themes of the Nevada Social Studies Standards. This qualitative descriptive case study investigated how high school social studies teachers, specifically Civics teachers in Southern Nevada, perceived the Multicultural Standards, their concerns and challenges, and how they implemented the civics and multicultural content themes of the Social Studies Standards in their classrooms. The findings of this study are derived from eight interviews with 12th grade Civics teachers in Southern Nevada regarding how they used the multicultural content themes of the Social Studies Standards in their Civics classrooms. This study also presents a review and analysis of the Nevada Academic Content Standards for a single required Civics and Economics course for high school graduation in Nevada. This dissertation study uses Meira Levinson’s Civic Empowerment Gap Theory as a theoretical framework to better understand eight civic teachers' perceptions, challenges, and concerns while using and implementing the Nevada multicultural content themes. This theory includes the philosophical ideas of education for democracy, the civic mission of schools, civic education, and the promotion of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive education for all students. The significance of this study was to understand the perceptions, challenges, and concerns of Civics teachers in implementing the multicultural content themes of the Social Studies Standards. The findings of this study illuminate the relationship between policy and practice in curriculum studies, how legislative mandates and policy directives are implemented into practice, and the problems and challenges educators, school leaders, curriculum specialists, and district and state officials face when implementing these policies. This study identifies the challenges teachers face when implementing culturally inclusive curriculum – not as an additive, but as mandated by law in academic content standards and curriculum. Finally, the study sheds light on how teacher education can improve teacher training as it relates to diversifying the standard school curriculum in the context of civic education.


civic empowerment gap; civics; Nevada


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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