The main problem with the education system is that as a whole, and I have seen these changes just over 15 years of teaching, people don't value education.
Maybe because nowadays having a college or high school diploma does not help. But, the other reason people don't value education is because in their communities, the role models they look up to - they have money etc and they did not get it by doing well in school. It's hard to keep telling kids to work hard etc and they see themselves where they are likely to end up.
I think we give kids every possible chance in NYC public schools anyway...I mean we give them everything. Still what is the problem? They don't value education.
Vouchers are good and they may help the achievers but