I went to a charter school for high school. I learned so much!
Because of the school's focus on hiring real mentors, I was surrounded by people who wanted me to learn and grow. This was important to both my education and my personal development.
Because of my school's unique structuring, I was very openly encouraged to "own my education," that is, find what I wanted to learn about, what I was passionate about, and learn about it. I learned so much more under this learning attitude than I would have under a traditional model, where teachers spoon out bits of information for a test. I discovered more talents and more things I loved learning about than I would have ever guessed. I am now a student for life. I will learn until the day I die.
Because of my school's focus on values, it attracted many students who were choosing to live virtuous and proactive lives. At the same time, the atmosphere of the school helped people learn how to become a virtuous and proactive person. I am not saying that there was an absence of students who were listing nowhere in particular and were (seemingly) uninterested in learning, growing or improving. They were there, but the general attitude was focused on moving beyond that stage, if you were willing to choose to do so.
In short, because I went to a charter school: I learned who I was, I developed my skills in a very well rounded pattern that included leadership, the liberal arts and the sciences. Because I went to a charter school, I learned, and learned how to learn, in a place where I was friends with both my mentors and my peers, where we all learned to become better people all around, and where there was a general good attitude and atmosphere.
In even shorter words, I learned in the best manner possible in the best place possible. I am who I am today (much better off academically and mentally) because of the principles taught and the experiences gained in a charter school.
I believe that charter schools are a good idea. So many public schools are now failing students, are overcrowded and understaffed. Charter schools give students an option besides a public schools. Some charter schools even cater to students who are gifted in the arts, etc. Students should have a choice of schools and charter schools give them that choice.
The very essence of a charter school's mission is to constantly be looking for new and more effective ways for not only the student to learn, but for the community to be more engaged in the creation of the curriculum. They are tuition-free but unlike other public schools, they are funded with tax dollars based on enrollment numbers. This means that the more the parents and educators get involved, the more tax dollars will be allotted to the school to expand on it's core values of ingenuity and modernization. Because they operate independently of the school district, they are free innovate in ways that other schools are not.