My Baton Rouge friend has a 4.5 year old and has to start thinking about school choices and is in a mental tug-of-war. From what she has heard, the public school system is not stellar, and since it's not stellar, many people choose to send their kids to private schools. And since they pay private school tuition, they LOUDLY squawk when asked to pay for public school improvements. And since no money goes into the public schools, then it stays not stellar.
She wants to believe in the public school system and support it, but then she's torn because she wants her child to get a good education. It's easy for me to have a knee-jerk reaction of "well put your child in public school and then work as a community of caring parents to change it" and then on the other hand, I don't have children, and I don't know what I'd do in this case. I know what I hope I'd do, but who ever really knows until they live it? Everyone wants the best for their kids.
The high school I teach at apparently has a nonstellar reputation, and people around the community think nothing of mentioning that to me. But then I teach at the school, and I know some of the great things that go on there (in addition to the bad things), so how much stock can you put in a reputation. There are good and "bad" teachers and admins and students everywhere and every school has problems of some sort.