The majority of American people believe that urban schools cannot provide a high level of education to their students, mostly because they lack the funds to provide an enriching educational experience. Even at schools that manage to provide an average level of education, learning conditions are appalling because school facilities are obsolete. As a result, students in urban schools are underachievers, attain less education and encounter less career opportunities in the job market than their suburban peers.
a) Characteristics of Students
One fundamental difference between urban and suburban schools is the characteristics of students. In majority, urban schools serve low income students coming from poor families, often living in crime ridden streets, or being minorities and limited English proficient. On the contrary, suburban schools tend to serve middle-class, higher income or even affluent students, who have moved to the suburbs to avoid low quality life in the city. Because of their affluence, suburban students have the luxury to be attended to by their parents who are not obliged to work all day and therefore, they grow up in a more stable and protected environment. Although reported criminality in suburban schools for 2008 is 24.4%, still it is half the 49.9% of urban schools.
b) Family Characteristics
Another major difference is the family characteristics of students in urban and suburban schools. Suburban students are more homogenous, and therefore more likely to follow same patterns of behavior. This means they are more likely to have a two-parent family, a parent who completed college, parents with high expectations for their education and parents who push them to succeed in college with a view to succeed later in life. On the contrary, urban students are less likely to have a stable home environment stemming from a two-parent family, and more likely to have at least one parent working and to change schools frequently because their parents change jobs.
c) Quality of Teaching
Teachers in urban schools are expected to overcome a great number of challenges, a fact that affects the quality of teaching and education provided to urban students. Lack of funding, obsolete facilities, and student behavior problems often deter teachers from applying for a job in urban schools. Therefore, suburban schools attract more and often better experienced teachers due to their better support and funding conditions.
Besides, suburban teachers have considerable more resources available in suburban schools and more influence over school’s curriculum. This gives them higher motive to educate their students, lowers absenteeism, and compensates them with higher salaries for their efforts as opposed to their urban colleagues.
On the grounds of these fundamental differences that all result in suburban schools been broadly viewed as better than urban schools, it is required that several measures are taken to improve the situation.
One could possibly view the problem as rooting from differences in the culture of people residing in urban and suburban areas. As such, it is strongly recommended that cultural interchange is provided. As already explained, suburban students are more homogenous, which means they need to learn how it feels like working in the city. At the same time, families of urban students need to have higher expectations for their children’s education in order to motivate them. To that end, urban communities and the government should help out parents to consider options of advanced education.