My kids have never attended a charter school, so I can't give you the first-hand account you're lookng for. However, according to state-released statistics, most charter schools in my area are terrible. There is a constant stream of news stories about various charter schools getting their permits revoked for poor student performance, in-school violence, drugs, or administrators who falsify attendance or test records, or skim funds and line their pockets. What others are saying about charter schools enrolling mainly underperforming or troubled students is true here, also. If a charter school is excellent and can turn those kids around, great, but I don't see that happening in my area.
On a positive note, there is one excellent charter school here. It is for kids who are highly involved in the performing arts. It was started by a group of parents and teachers and a well repected, old guard choral organization. They started slowly and very carefully and appear to have done everything "right." It is now a fully accredited school for grades k-12. Children must audition and be accepted in order to attend, and getting accepted is not a piece of cake. They receive additional funding and support from many arts organizations in the area. Because of the competitive audition process and the fact that the performing arts are very well established and popular here, this school and its students are thriving and exceeding state requirements.
My kids are not involved in the performing arts, however, if they were I would be happy for them to attend that school, as the kids I know who go there seem to be getting an excellent education in addition to theater, dance, music and voice training.