Let me offer a simple explanation for why for-profit charters (like the one slated to take over the York PA public school system) are bad news for education.
You are leaving your child with a babysitter. You hand the babysitter ten dollars and say, "Use this to get lunch for my child. Everything you don't spend on her lunch, you get to keep."
Do you think your child is going to eat steak or baloney sandwiches?
Granted, schools are more complicated. Let's add a layer to our analogy.
You are part of a neighborhood co-op. You all put in money together to pay for babysitting for everybody's kids. Your neighbor Swell McGotrocks is in charge of the system, and Swell makes that same deal with the sitter-- only Swell stops by every day and picks up his own kid and takes her to Red Lobster for lunch.
You ask for accountability, so Swell says, "Fine. I will require the sitter to weigh the food and make sure that your child is getting at least eight ounces of food a day."
Do you think your child is getting eight ounces of steak, or eight ounces of baloney?
You would feel better if the deal were, "Here are ten dollars. Spend all of them on my child's lunch. I'll see that you're well paid, but spend all ten dollars on my child's lunch."
The anti-public school crowd is going to say, "That gives me no guarantee that the sitter won't buy ten dollars' worth of baloney and skittles." And they are correct. We will still need to keep an eye on the sitter. But with the spend-it-all-on-lunch system, we have the possibility of a good steak for my child. At the very least, we have not created a system with the strong perverse incentive to screw over my child's meal in order for the sitter to stay in business. In a for-profit charter, the students are the enemy, the obstacle to making money. The main management problem remains, "How do we keep these kids from sucking up too much of our money."
Note: It's not really any different for most modern charter non--profits, if the operators pay themselves outsize salaries, like Eva Moskowitz at $500,000+ or Deborah Kenny at Harlem Village Academy at $475,000).