My oldest son (S1) will soon be going to high school. Unfortunately, my wife and I have no idea where we're going to send him.
He's been in the same "standard" yeshiva since nursery school and while we can't say that we're crazy over the education he's gotten, it hasn't been terrible and is certainly a step above what many other elementary school yeshivos provide.
Recently, my wife and I got a glimpse into what the high school is like in this school, and we were less than pleased. Most of the secular studies drop off after ninth grade. While the students do study for and take the New York State Regents exams, there is very little in the way of actual education. It gets to the point where in twelfth grade, there are actually no classes at all - students merely have to turn in papers to get credit. The entire day is pretty much spent learning Torah.
While learning Torah is important and should always be the main focus of a yeshiva, the secular studies aspect of it is also very important to my wife and I. When we were first looking for a school for S1, there was a new school that was opening up in our neighborhood that had an excellent secular studies department. We declined to send him there for two reasons: (1) the boys did not have a Rebbe until about third or fourth grade and (2) for some grades, there were secular studies in the morning and Limudei Kodesh in the afternoon. My wife and I disagreed with both of those paradigms, and so we did not send him there. The main issue, really was the second one - it should not be forgotten that the main reason for a yeshiva's existence is to teach our children Torah. By having secular studies first for some grades, it sends the opposite message (in my opinion). The other issue (the lack of a Rebbe) wasn't a deal-breaker for us, but was also a troubling issue for us.
That being said, we recognize that Limudei Kodesh is more important than secular studies. Whatever my children do with their lives - whether they become doctors, lawyers, Roshei Yeshiva, zoologists, computer programmers, whatever... they will always first and foremost be Jews. As such, they have to have the basic knowledge and foundations for that most essential role in life. How they earn their livelihood is secondary (although very important).
On the other hand, we view our obligations as parents not only to teach our children Torah and how to be fine, upstanding Jews, but also how to get by in the world. We view it as our obligation to make sure that our children are capable of taking care of themselves financially when they have families of their own. To us, it is important that all of our children go on to college, or learn some trade that will ensure that they will not be a burden on the government or other Jews. And that leads us to where we are now.
My son's present school, due to it's dismal secular studies department, is not an option for high school. But where to send him? We want a place that takes learning Torah seriously. We want a place that is sex-segregated (the last thing we need is the additional distraction of girls in school). And we want a place that makes a serious commitment at preparing our kids for the possibility of going to college if they so wish. Sadly, I don't see too many schools doing this.
My own high school, of course, did not encourage students to go to college. In fact, I delayed going to college for one semester because I didn't want to get into trouble for requesting my records for a college. The last thing I needed was to have my Rosh Yeshiva (with whom I was in the doghouse often enough) come down on me and threaten to expel me for applying to college. And so, I didn't apply until after I graduated. (The fact that I was accepted into college was only because I did a lot of independent study on my own in high school, far beyond what I was taught in the actual classes.)
This is not a path that I want my own children to follow. I want them to go to a school where learning Torah and secular studies are both treated importantly - where both Torah learning and secular studies are regarded as having intrinsic value and not where the latter is tolerated simply because it is mandated by the state. Sadly, I don't know of any such schools in Brooklyn. Do you?