Here are the deceptions: First City College or CUNY is a system of colleges designed to provide higher education to the residents of New York city, but open to everyone. It is a broad spectrum of schools some of which are top notch, some are more like 4 year community colleges. Tuition is low (aprox $6,000/year) and acceptance is high, although can be selective at the better schools.
The remediation program itself is a money maker for the educators. They have every motivation to put students through it and it is practically a required course. My child who graduated the NY school system with honors was accepted into an honors program at one of the more exclusive CUNY schools. He was informed that first semester would be remedial classes if he attended. He was also accepted at other top notch schools (without any such requirement). He did not choose to attend the CUNY system and for the record made the Dean's list his first semester at a much more challenging school without remediation.
Although Public Schools in this country are doing a poor job in general of educating our children, I do not believe NY is worse than many other areas of the country.