As you should all click here and read Jeffrey's comprehensive post on this matter. A teaser:
What the charter system does is segregate students according to their families' ability to navigate the application process. More often than not, such divisions occur along the same lines as class, social status, and race. The result is a system where the best performing charters draw the most privileged students while the most needy are shunted off into a separate but equally "public" educational ghetto.
On another tangent, this is one hell of a demonstration about how the media can manipulate public opinion. I wonder if the Newsweek article showed up in a print edition? I'll have to go to the store on the way home and find out.