Urban Schools Improve, but Still Trail Suburbs

Article excerpt

BIG-CITY schools in the United States have cut their dropout rates and raised student achievement in math and English, but still lag behind suburban schools in many areas, according to a report just released by The Council of The Great City Schools.

"The bottom line is, in terms of urban education, the nation is getting what it is paying for - financially, politically, and culturally," said Michael Casserly of the council, which released the report on Tuesday.

Mr. Casserly said the move to the suburbs by many employers has left "inner city schools with fewer community and economic resources to assist them."

Even equalized spending among school districts would not compensate for the institutional support suburban schools have, or the greater needs of urban schools.

The average large urban school spends about $5,200 per student compared to $6,073 in suburban schools - and $5,512 nationally, said Casserly.

Drawing on information from 44 of the nation's largest urban public school systems, the report said:

* The median annual dropout rate declined from 10.5 percent in 1988-89 to 8.8 percent in 1990-91.

* 5.2 percent of juniors and seniors successfully completed a college-level English course, while 3. …