I'll probably be the only person to say San Francisco. I have raised my two daughters here and know from experience the quality and the problems with the schools. I give my time to the schools working on the site council at Lowell High School.
In many ways San Francisco is unique. The public school experience is one of those ways. The schools compete for students with special programs and the parents can go to a school fair that is held each year so they can determine which seven schools thay want to choose from. 87% of the children get into one of the seven that their parents choose.
Because San Francisco is such a diverse city the children are exposed to many different cultures and socio-econimic groups. My own experience is that the kids can be individuals more easily, there is less peer pressure than in the suburban schools where there is less diversity.
The parents involvement in a school is more important than any other factor. If parents work to support schools the kids are all better off. If parents only support the school through taxes and not by being involved the kids suffer.
San Francisco, with access to public transport and all of the things to do here provide great opportunities to young people growing up.
If anyone is interested in learning how the admissions and SFUSD work can access an article I wrote on my blog, http://www.FogCityGuide.com that dispells the myths of SF schools. The info came from a seminar I put on at the Board of Realtors that was attended by a member of the Board of Education and the Public Affairs of SFUSD.
When I went to UC Berkeley under, I found many of my classmates graduated from Lowell High School mentioned by Jed, and you know UC Berkeley is the best Public University in the world.
I also got a classmate, when I went to Berkeley graduate school, who graduated from Rutgers Univ and got admission from both Berkeley and Stanford Univ, and she picked Berkeley.
Then I came to Bell Labs at Murray Hill NJ and my District Manager found I was so sharp and competitve to dozens of others MTS in the group from MIT, Princeton, U Michigan, Columbia Univ, ...etc. He decided his daughter who won many tops in NJ Science League competitions and Olympia to have to go to UC Berkeley.
But, as you know, Berkeley gave highest priority to applicants from Lowell High School. Every year there are many students got admited. However, if your kid going to high schools in other area, say, in New Jersey. Even if your kid is TOP in an excellient high school, you may NOT get admitted by Berkeley.
So, how would your kids going to Berkeley? the best public university in the world? One short cut is to get your kids to attend Lowell High School in San Francisco, and in order to get into this top 10 best high school in the US, you better prepare your kids to have jump start at San Francisco Elementary and middle schools.
So, my brother just bought a $650,000 tiny 1br at San Francisco not long ago. Thanks for Trulia. Why? Is he crazy to buy at the most expensive real estate city in the US at current market? No! I told him that if he does NOT buy NOW at current market, he would NEVER be able to get a good spot for his family, and especially for his newly born son!!!
Without a spot in San Francisco, he cust his son's future going to UC Berkeley thru excellient San Francisco elementary and middle schools and Lowell High School.
I have another brother came to NJ and then moved back to San Francisco, why? because he does not speak English well. In San Francisco, as he said, every bank, every utility office, just everywhere, there are people can speak Chinese, so language is not a problem for life.
This reminds me when I just came to the US, i.e. San Francisco, I spoke in Chinese with a female classmate from Shanghi in the bus stop. The white guy behind me finally joined our conversation in Chinese!!! What a surprise!
When Mayor Reid was running for San Francisco Mayor years back, he spent a week to stay at various homeless sheltors in San Francisco and came back with a question for me. He did NOT see Chinese homeless in homeless sheltor. I said, of course, becaues Chinese has a tradition that they will buy a home, and once they buy a home, they often will NOT sell, and they will buy one home for each of their kids, and so when their kids grow up will at least have a home to start with.
Like in Edison Hollow South in Edison New Jersey http://raspberryct.blogspot.com/ where there is New Jersey Chinatown forming. The whole community is SOLD OUT!!! what??? yes, it is sold out at current market. I have friend who bought 4 condos to each of his 4 kids, and his friends are doing so too.
There is rumors saying when Chinese families moving in, the town's schools become excellient. Last year Edison's JP Stevens High won #1 in Science League Competition on Chemistry over hundreds of all other NJ high schools, and Edison's Middlesex Academy of Science won #1 in Physics.
This reminds me why San Francisco's schools from elementary to high schools are so good...