Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Enrique Murillo Jr


Since the 1980s, neoliberal influence has slowly taken over our education system’s vision and purpose. Presently, marketization in schooling has drawn the attention and influence of those of monetary and political power (Bartlett et al., 2002). Accountability measures set in place by the strings attached to school funding and sanctions encompass blanket demands on classroom instruction not equitably designed to support our diverse student populations (Ravitch, 2013; Reigeluth, 2014; Tsang, 2019). The school system, as it presently stands, is managed and maintained under systematic models that do not align to the complex needs of each unique school within its unique community; instead, it aligns to a business factory-like model (Groff et al., 2010; Reigeluth, 2014). After decades of political interest in education, evolving technological growth, and significant cultural and economic changes, this factory-like model has presented malfunctions at the classroom level because children are not “product” and we have more than advanced beyond that factory model (Bartlett et al., 2002; Groff et al., 2010; Reigeluth, 2014). With school accountability and neoliberal influence seeping through the education system, this phenomenological study aimed to gain insight on the demoralization experienced by teachers. The qualitative phenomenological study allows for a deeper understanding of the unintended obstacles created by systemic policies and procedures experienced by individual teachers that may lead to professional and personal disempowerment and stress.

Keywords: accountability, achievement-gap, burnout, demoralization, discourse, disempowerment, educational leaders, emotional labor, ethical code, globalization, moral agents, neoliberalism, school governance, stress, top-down management