The Monk is a product of public schools from elementary through college, but knows that public education in American cities is generally disgraceful. Indeed, if not for The Monk's parents gaming the system 30 years ago (the two closest schools to The Monk's house were respectively dreadful and poor -- the third-closest was quite decent), and The Monk's own ability to pass admissions tests for magnet schools, The Monk's own education may well have been lacking.
In The Monk's current home area, people avoid the Dallas Independent School District like plague -- the effect is such that a house in Dallas city limits zoned for Richardson or Plano (two suburbs) schools will command a large premium over its neighbors zoned for Dallas schools. Moreover houses in University Park or Highland Park, two sub-cities within Dallas with their own school districts, command ridiculous prices because the "Park Cities" have good public schools.
In Los Angeles, the No Child Left Behind Act has left behind about 300,000 kids -- primarily because the LA school system pointedly refuses to comply. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is not doing enough to force compliance either. Clint Bolick's column in the WSJ has details.