I can't offer an intelligent explanation on charter schools or speak eloquently on the issues involving them—but I do know they're controversial and typically either praised or scorned.
In a nutshell, a charter school is a public institution, planned and organized by groups of educators, community members, parents, and others. They were initially conceived as laboratories for reform, meant to instill competition and choice in the public school system. As a result, charter schools were given more flexibility in exchange for greater accountability.
We have a few elementary charter schools in San Francisco. Those include:
Creative Arts Charter School
Edison Charter Academy
Have you toured a charter school? Does your child attend one? Do you think they're the savior or spoiler of public education in America? Please share your knowledge and viewpoints.