Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Missing ‘Political Dynamics’ of Utah District’s Creation

June 14, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Reporting in Education Week has a habit of translating matters of class and power in education into what can best be described as technical questions of school improvement, thereby obscuring the social forces that shape education policy. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in your story on the formation of the new Canyons school district in Utah (“Utah’s Newest District Gives Leadership Team Chance to Make Impact,” May 19, 2010).

This article attributes the creation of the new district to parents’ desire for more local control. At bottom, however, what motivated the division was not simply a desire for greater community input, but the opposition of more wealthy, mostly white parents on the former district’s east side to the school board’s decision to devote its limited resources to building new schools on the district’s rapidly growing west side, where residents are less wealthy and less racially homogeneous and, by Utah law, were not permitted to vote on the proposed split.

I have no doubt that David S. Doty, the Canyons district superintendent, is working hard to make the new school system a success, as your story indicates. But absent a consideration of how these inequities of class and race manifested themselves spatially, the argument that the new district came about simply because east-side residents felt disenfranchised by the Jordan school district erases from view the political dynamics that led to the formation of the new district in the first place.

Harvey Kantor

Professor and Chair

Department of Education, Culture, and Society

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Education Week as Missing ‘Political Dynamics’ Of Utah District’s Creation

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Leveraging Student Voice for Teacher Retention & Development
Join our webinar on using student feedback to improve teacher performance, retention & student achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management How Central Offices Can Lay the Groundwork for Tutoring in Schools
From data mining to making master schedules, principals need central offices’ help to implement tutoring.
5 min read
Teamwork and leadership.
DigitalVision Vectors
School & District Management What the Research Says Most Schools Have Early-Warning Systems. Some Kids Are Still Getting Lost
A study finds that one such system prevented absenteeism among some students but not others.
4 min read
Illustration of a warning symbol.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion Restorative Practices Don’t Just Belong in the Classroom. Leaders Should Use Them, Too
Respectful conflict resolution, starting meetings with a talking circle, and other ways this administrator is walking the walk.
Sonja Gedde
5 min read
A team of colleagues comes to a resolution in a conceptual illustration about building bridges
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management Electric Buses Hit Some Road Bumps, But They're Still Catching On
The number of electric school buses is rising—and there’s no shortage of growing pains involving funding, legal mandates, and operations.
8 min read
Yellow electric school bus plugged in at a charging station.
Thomas W Farlow/iStock/Getty