Characteristics of Urban Education
Reports on the condition of
urban schools conducted over the past decade indicate that students and
teachers in urban settings have greater challenges to overcome than their
suburban and rural counterparts. This section is designed to inform you
of: (1) general characteristics of urban schools, students, and teachers;
and (2) the varied nature of the challenges associated with urban education.
Results of the reports on the condition of urban schools indicate that:
In summary, students and teachers in urban schools have a host of challenges
to overcome. For this reason, it is crucial that urban educators: (1) arm themselves
with all available information on "best practices" and instructional
strategies utilized by effective urban educators, and (2) generate their own
strategies to address topics and issues related to the academic achievement of
average, urban schools have larger enrollments than suburban or rural
schools at both the elementary and secondary levels—and they are
more likely to serve low income students.
students are more likely to attend schools with high concentrations of
low income students. Forty percent of students in urban locales attend
high poverty schools (defined as schools with more than 40 percent of students
receiving free or reduced price lunch), whereas only 10 percent of suburban
students, and 25 percent of rural students attend high poverty schools.
average, students in urban schools have lower achievement scores (reading,
writing, mathematics, and science) than their counterparts in suburban
behavior problems in the areas of absenteeism, classroom discipline, weapons
possession, and student pregnancy are more common in urban schools. On
the other hand, the use of alcohol is less of a problem in urban schools
than in rural schools.
of location, students in high poverty schools are less likely to feel safe
in school, or spend as much time on homework as those in low poverty schools.
In addition, students in urban high poverty schools are much more likely
to watch television excessively.
teachers have fewer resources available to them and less control over their
curriculum than teachers in other locations.
in urban and high poverty schools have comparable levels of experience
and salaries as their suburban counterparts, but have more experience and
higher salaries than most of their rural counterparts. However, urban schools
have more provisional teachers and instructors teaching out of their content
The next two sections of this module are devoted to national, state, and local
achievement trends in urban education, and successful and suggested teaching
strategies that can be used to improve the learning and achievement of students
in urban schools.
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