A suburban school as opposed to an urban is a school that exists in the outer suburbs of a city. It is usually characterized by its population of middle-class white majority students whose parents have moved from the inner city areas in generations past to find open spaces or to get away from the crime ridden streets. A suburban school is still administered by the school district it is in but because of the middle-class suburb that surrounds the school, it will generally reflect the affluence of its community.

Open Spaces

Suburban schools were born out of the necessity to educate the children of parents who moved out from the inner urban areas of the city to the planned estates of the suburbs. These estates provided cleaner air and open spaces for children to grow in and accordingly the schools that grew to service these areas were newer and better equipped than their urban predecessors. An outside observer might ask why this should make a difference since each school should receive the same funding from the government.


Because the suburban school generally is slightly more affluent, the parents can be more involved in the day-to-day running of the school, which provides for a more cohesive home life and this in turn cuts the crime rates. Suburban schools still have the same sorts of problems with teenage crime as other schools, but as Barry Farber shows in his study, the numbers are less than half the urban schools.

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More than 52 percent of Americans are residing in suburban areas attached to large cities while the remainder is split among poorer urban school districts. This has had the effect of creating an unequal division between two types of schools, one suburban and affluent and the other inner-city and poorer.


The quality of education is somewhat better in a suburban school because of the fact that they seem to attract better teachers. This is not to say that the teachers at urban schools are necessarily any less educated than suburban school teachers but because they have more support and funding in suburban schools, experienced educators are more likely to be hired there.

Inequity Cycle

The phenomenon of the suburban/urban school debate is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless a poor school has equal resources and texts and teachers, they cannot produce the same results as a suburban school. On the other hand, districts are reticent on buying new resources for poorer schools because of their reputations, real or not, or for fear that these will be damaged, stolen, or in the long run wasted spending.

About the Author

Enzo Silvestri is an author and educator in English, languages, and social sciences. Currently teaching in college he has published novels, poetry and a variety of articles for online health and fitness publications, and is currently working on two new projects as well as continuing online writing.