The reason suburban schools are for the most part better than their urban counterparts, is because of the availability of money; that’s the long and short of it.
Because of white flight in the second half of the last century, those that could afford to move to the suburbs did so, leaving behind those that could not. And because of that, those that stayed found fewer and fewer opportunities to get ahead, and so one generation of poor people gave way to another, and then another after that, leaving us with what now have, poor urban areas with little or no chance of improvement in sight.
And because the people that live in the cities are comparatively poor, there is very little money that can be collected from them in taxes to pay for things like a police force, trash collection, firemen, administration, and finally, public schools. Thus, all of these city services suffer.
In the suburbs on the other hand, where the wealthier people live, there are local taxes collected, both on property in a lot of cases personal income taxes, and the money collected can go to all of the same things that money goes for in the city, except there is a lot more of it because of the higher value of the property and incomes. And thus, there is a lot more available for schools.
There is also the issue of crime. Most cities in the United States have much higher crime rates than do the suburbs that surround them, especially the wealthier ones. And the fact is, a lot of teachers are afraid to teach in a place where they are worried about their safety or their belongings. They don’t see any reasons compelling enough to cause them to take such risks when they can get a job in a safer place.
The final reason that suburban schools are usually better than urban schools is because of race. It is a sad fact, but one that is impossible to ignore when you talk about education in cities across this country. Most of our cities are populated by minorities; Black, Hispanic, Asian, Eastern European, you name it, there are subsections of our cites that are comprised of mainly minorities, minorities that for lack of money don’t get the opportunities that are afforded those that are not minorities and are living outside of the city limits. While it’s not exactly true that schools in urban Detroit, Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York explicitly discriminate against those kids that go to those schools because of the color of their skin, or their backgrounds, it is true that it’s a contributing factor to the maintenance of the status quo, and the status quo, is that poor people get a lousy education in this country and it is minorities that make up the lion’s share of those that are poor, and it’s going to stay that way until people that are not minorities demand change.