Children's disability policy in Canada, the United States and Mexico: a question of convergence
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The guiding purpose of this dissertation is to examine the relationships between the development of national social policies and the implementation of international frameworks created through multi-national trade agreements. By conducting an in-depth case study of policy designed to address society’s needs associated with children with disabilities in the United States, Mexico and Canada, this dissertation discusses whether or not the framework created through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has resulted in greater social policy and philosophical convergence among these nations than existed before NAFTA. The evidence supporting the dissertation is drawn from data collected through interviews, observation, historical analysis of policies, content analysis, and statistical analysis. The analysis of the data leads to the conclusion that convergence is occurring between the special education and other children’s disability policy in the three countries. This policy harmonization is shaping along the lines of philosophical federalism with increasingly decentralized management and program accountability mechanism.