ERIC Number: ED565891
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-May
Reference Count: N/A
Suburban Schools: The Unrecognized Frontier in Public Education
Gill, Sean; Posamentier, Jordan; Hill, Paul T.
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Over the past two decades, big cities have been the most consistent focus of investment and controversy in American public education. The challenges for big cities are obvious. Increasing numbers of foreign-born students and students living in poverty, coupled with dramatic declines in the numbers of native-born middle-class students, mean that cities face an unprecedented array of educational needs and great uncertainty about how to meet them. Debates about how to make city public schools effective, particularly about whether to shore up existing arrangements or experiment with new ways of running and overseeing schools, have been intense. While urban schools continue to warrant attention, school districts in many suburbs just outside the central city's limits (inner-ring suburbs) have similar trends but have received less notice. These school districts--from Prince George's County, Maryland, to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Aurora, Colorado, to Burien, Washington--have also experienced population changes as dramatic as those in big cities. Some might argue that inner-ring suburbs undergoing population changes have been lucky to avoid the battles over education policy, teacher strikes, and state interventions. But for suburbs with growing numbers of disadvantaged students, neglect has not all been benign. Many suburbs are economically distressed and not well-equipped to handle major new challenges. Even suburban school systems that were effective for the groups that moved there after World War II are likely not prepared to meet the new array of student needs or to find solutions to unprecedented problems. In this essay the authors review the evidence on these points, consider the strengths and weaknesses of inner-ring suburbs when faced with new challenges, and suggest ways leaders--local, state, and philanthropic--can help suburban schools adapt to the challenges they face.
Descriptors: Suburban Schools, Public Education, Educational Quality, School Districts, Disadvantaged Youth, Student Needs, Poverty, Educational Finance, Teacher Competencies, Political Issues, Risk
Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington Bothell Box 358200, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.crpe.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)