Last month, the Boston Globe ran "Getting In," an extensive series of print and video features on the experience of families going through the process of registering their kids in the Boston Public Schools. Those of us who are veterans of PPSD registration will note obvious differences, of course. Not the least of these differences is that the polices and practices of school registration and student assignment are clear and transparent.
That's not to imply that Bostonians themselves are delighted with BPS - as parents and others state over and over, their kids need better schools citywide. But what seems to be clear is that the registration process itself isn't a factor that contributes to people's frustration or abandonment either of the system of their work to advocate for their kids, and I cannot confidently say that about PPSD's registration and assignment processes.
Here's the link to the entire series: http://www.boston.com/news/education/specials/school_chance/index/. Fascinating reading.