In Syracuse, the mayor, parent organizations and the school superintendent are all searching for ways to improve city schools. At 33 percent, Syracuse's Fowler High School has one of the lowest four-year graduation rates in the state. That's the school the daughter of community activist Jones-Cole would attend, based on location. But because her K-8 school is also on the state's list of underperforming schools, she is eligible to attend high school elsewhere in Syracuse.
Still, Jones-Cole worries about her daughters' education.
Jones-Cole said she wishes her children had the opportunities afforded to children in other districts, from more modern buildings and sports fields to better science laboratories and up-to-date textbooks.
In terms of getting a quality education, Jones-Cole said, "the truth of the matter is my child will always be behind."
ABCNews.com contributor Matthew Nojiri is a member of the Syracuse University ABC News On Campus bureau.