"New York City has a surprising number of excellent public elementary schools - you may have one just a few blocks from your home," Hemphill writes in the guide's new third edition.
"New schools are opening all the time, and strong leadership can transform a mediocre school into a good one in just a few years."
The emphasis on the importance of the leadership of school administrations and parent involvement (mentioned in a couple of the reviews of the schools) in turning around primary schools shows that a lot of the problems with NYC schools can be solved from within the school and the community. Of course, there are a lot of problems that require more funding and action from the DOE (and there are a lot of schools that are not close to being on the list), and middle and high schools have harder time promoting parent involvement than primary schools do, but Hemphill's take on city schools seems to be pretty upbeat. I'll have to keep that in mind after the school year starts.