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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Dissertation: Campus only access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Romano, Jacqueline



Purpose. Currently, bilingual, hearing children of Deaf adults (CODA) are not considered English Language Learners (ELL). Education policies are implemented to ensure that all learners have a right to a meaningful education. Over the last 80 years, the U.S. has experienced numerous court cases that have fought for equity and equality in education for diverse learners. Education policies have been amended to support ELLs better, and court cases have been fought for bilingual learners to ensure they receive their right to a meaningful education in the U.S. However, amended education policies and these court cases do not include CODAs, whose first language is American Sign Language (ASL). This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of CODAs, including their educational experiences, to determine if the U.S. education system failed them.

Methodology. This qualitative narrative inquiry research study used the three-series interview to delve deep into the stories of four CODA participants (researcher included). By using narrative analysis, the researcher identified commonalities among the participants. Through this narrative inquiry study, the researcher investigated the participants’ common stories and explored CODAs’ educational experiences growing up in California.

Findings. This study identified eleven commonalities related to CODAs’ lived experiences, and eight related to CODAs’ educational experiences. The literature review addressed only eight of the nineteen commonalities. The remaining eleven commonalities are gaps within the literature on CODAs’ experiences.

Conclusion. CODAs would benefit from the protections provided to bilingual learners within the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. As the commonalities emerged from CODAs’ narratives, education leaders would benefit from learning about this marginalized community to provide CODAs with a meaningful education. Based on the California Department of Education’s (2022) definition of equity, CODAs have not been provided equity in their education. It is the U.S. Department of Education’s responsibility to amend the laws that exclude CODAs.

Recommendations. The California Department of Education should advocate for CODAs to be included and considered as ELLs demanding an amendment to the current education law. School leaders should become culturally proficient and learn about the Deaf community and CODAs to provide support in their K-12 education journey. School districts should strive to provide access to Deaf parents and provide an inclusive environment for Deaf parents. By supporting these families, the responsibility may not fall so heavily on the shoulders of young CODAs.