Sociology Differences in Urban and Suburban Schools

The disparities between urban and suburban schools are abundant. Taking a closer look, one will note that the educational differences as well as the educational facilities, are as diverse as the children who attend these schools. Upgrades to highway systems right across the country back in the 1960’s to the 1970’s, allowed middle class to upper class families to relocate to the suburbs. They left a host of school districts for what they deemed ‘greener pastures.’ Thus two completely different types of school systems emerged, one for the inner cities and another which took care of the suburbs. So different were these in regards to funding that a myriad of people cried, “inequality!”

The public school system is primarily funded by the state, federal and local governments. The local and state governments provide the bulk. More often than not, the public, local communities and the states support public education by using property tax revenues. A majority of schools levy extra tax in accordance to their local and state guidelines. As we all know, houses within the suburbs are usually far more valuable and those living in these areas are somewhat more affluent. Therefore more tax is collected from them. This allows schools within the vicinity to benefit from having access to this money. The schools benefit, the teachers benefit and in the long term the children benefit. Those from inner cities generate far less money.

With more funding we note competitive salaries for educators, class sizes drop enabling children to have more one on one educational structure. More access to technology becomes available, there is an increased in advanced facilities, the schools are much cleaner, children have newer books, upgraded classrooms, better resources and a much healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately those with better access to money gain a higher leg up in educational opportunities while those with far less financial support suffer in so many ways. To be blunt, students at suburban schools end up having a much more enriching education than those in inner cities. No one need guess why they are said to outperform their urban counterparts. There is much better funding, a much better environment for both students and teachers, more experienced teachers who are attracted to the better pay and the far better appearance of suburban schools. Students have far better opportunities and a much wider choice of elective subjects.

Less than 50 years ago, the immense departure from urban areas left a by-product of educational facilities in the suburban areas which tend to be less than 60 years old. When new schools are constructed in the suburbs, many of these schools are neglected in regards to maintenance. In fact, in the Northern states a good number or educational facilities outdate the Industrial Revolution! One need not think too hard to realize that this can lead to potential hazards to student health and well being. Building codes previous to the Industrial Revolution were far less regulated than they are these days. The implications of educational differences is very prominent and race slowly but surely develops between those who have financial stability and those who don’t. Therefore the have and the have-nots truly note the economic discrepancies. Consequently, the inequalities within the educational system ends up severely hindering the concept of the rags to riches image of the United States. Of course this places a great gap between the destitute and the affluent.

Discipline comes into the equation when classes are too large. Teachers have a battle to control so many children. But when classes are smaller control and student attention is much easier to gain. Class consciousness comes into play as well and suburban children know that they are expected to behave in a specific manner. Most parents push the fact that their children are expected to become academically sound. On the flip side of the coin are the children from poverty stricken backgrounds who tend to think school is a waste of time, energy and effort. A host of these children become arrogant, sullen and rebellious. Those who do wish to learn have a struggle because the defiant children upset the entire classroom. At times intelligent children will feel they are being discriminated against when the education standards are poor. Many high-school children become very irate thinking that their hopes and dreams are being suppressed.

Children who attend poorly funded schools suffer severely, they often drop out of school and fail to gain any qualifications for the future whatsoever. Irrespective of want many think, children know quality from a very early age. If the quality of education is poor they will know, if the quality is high, they will have a far better chance of becoming well educated and gain good employment in the years ahead. Naturally intelligent children’s abilities are suppressed when the education standards do not suit the children. ADD, ADHD and autistic children suffer the worse. Many schools lack teachers who are properly educated in dealing with these specific children. Children from dysfunctional homes have very little chance of speaking to school counsellors etc, because in most school they just don’t exist.  

Statistics state that pregnancy rates high in both suburban and urban schools, but is higher in the urban schools. 14% of suburban12th grade students and 20% of urban 12th graders have been pregnant. And 60% of suburban 12th graders have smoked compared to 30% of urban 12th graders. 74% of suburban 12th graders and 71% of urban 12th graders have tried alcohol more than three times and 63% of suburban 12th graders and 57% or urban 12th graders drink without family members being present. 22% of suburban 12th graders and 16% of urban 12th graders have even driven a motor vehicle while drink. This speaks volumes! There is major concern between parents about the ever increasing influence of drugs, delinquency, sex and alcohol in urban schools. This has led to the last few decades witnessing the population flight from cities to suburbs.