Choosing a school based on the middos reputation of its students is a very common occurrence amongst frum people. Like with most things frum people do, this specific occurrence irks me as well.
For example, this shabbos the rabbi of my shul said he will probably send his daughter to a certain school because he doesn't want to worry about her going on drugs, being in the streets, and possibly going off the derech. He said that he's capable of supplementing her education so its not going to be a problem.
Here goes my rant:
WTH is wrong with people these days? We are currently experiencing the highest OTD rate in as long as anyone can remember, as well as the highest BT/conversion rates in history.
So lets take schooling for example:
Many of the OTD people went to typical BY/Yeshivish type schools. They had terrible education, no outside world influences, they didn't speak to people of the opposite gender, and yet, at a certain age, they began to realize there must be more to the world than just blindly following a penguin wannabe. Some people find answers to their own questions, some never ask and just follow the status quo as hard as it may be, while others just decide they want nothing to do with the people who make clarity so difficult to find, and eventually choose a different lifestyle.
Lets take the average BT. The average BT went to a public school or a kiruv type school with VERY lenient rules. Meaning, the BT came from a background that allowed for ALOT Of socialization amongst all different types of people. These people socialized (assuming they're from a city where the trends are high) with Muslims, Christians, atheists, hindus, Buddhists; they've also socialized with many different types of people in reference to race and culture. They've probably been to people's houses and tried a variety of ethnic foods.
These people somehow find a way to become frum. They give up their free-lifestyle. They commit to doing NOTHING one day a week, they commit to not eating certain foods, basically, they generally commit to an entirely different lifestyle than they are used to.
Now...why would someone who has alot of freedom choose to become frum, while someone who is raised with the restrictions and is used to the lifestyle, go off the derech?
Clearly its not IN THE SCHOOL. CLEARLY!! Or else no PS kid would ever in their lives become frum, and neither would a nice BY/yeshivish person go OTD.
It's the parents. Sadly, I feel the parents in frum homes have no say whatsoever in their child's life anymore. They send their kids to schools. These schools decide for the parents what the kid can/cannot do. What the kid can/not see. The school chooses who the kid can or cannot be friends with, and which music the kid can/cannot listen to. They also declare which locations are appropriate for the kid to socialize in, and which ones are innappropriate.
Where are the parents? Oh, that's right, the parents are busy reproducing, so that 5 yrs later they can complain about how they cannot afford tuition to send their kids to schools they cannot afford that doesn't teach anything anyway...
Really...in the PS system, the parents are FORCED to parent, because if they don't, children will end up totally messed up. And if the parents don't parent? The kid learns to make their own decisions. Some kids make mistakes, while some don't. It's all relative to the personalities and the INDIVIDUALITY that develops when you're in a school with a DIVERSE group of people.
When you're in a school with people who are not like you, you tend to question why you do what you do. You question why you're different, and often, people have a specific preference to their own culture, and they form an identity with people who are similar to themselves. They come up with cliques, in which the students find themselves as part of a community of people who are LIKE them! Even if a student forms a clique of people based on things other than ethnicity, there would still be an ultimate binding factor that the student feels is essential to their personal identity.
A student, in such an environment, learns to take care of itself, based on the guidelines their parents set for them in the home.
If a student has bad parents, they wouldn't survive the PS system, because they are likely to find themselves with a group of people who are clueless.
Being a part of the frummy yeshiva system requires bad parents. If parents were decent, they wouldn't feel compelled to leaving their kids in schools for crazy hours. They'd want their kids at home, reading a book, or possibly hanging out with a friend, watching a movie or doing HW or playing a game.
IN the frum world, its no wonder they fear sending their kid to decent education schools, and not focus on middos. They fear the inevitable- their bad parenting would cause their kids to go OTD.