Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote a book 10 years ago, before the housing boom and bust, about how education and safety were killing middle America. In a short summary (to a detailed book):
Prior to women entering the workforce, families were more stable, because in surviving off one income, if the breadwinner was sick, mom could get a job, so you lost some income.
After women entered the workforce, family finances became less stable, because now EITHER parent losing the job was a catastrophe. And two jobs might reduce the likelihood that both are unemployed, but drastically increases the likelihood that EITHER becomes unemployed, and that was destabilizing finances.
The main driver of the middle class squeeze has been housing, and housing is driven by safe neighborhoods and good schools. To live in such a neighborhood has required two incomes, because the two income families bid up prices. This has absolutely killed single income families, because they can't compete.
The neighborhood based schooling encourages families to struggle for neighborhoods with good schools, which amps up the arms race for the housing.
Charter Schools aren't something she advocates, but detaching schooling from housing helps put the breaks on the housing run up.
The fact that you can live in a neighborhood you can afford and send to a good school is a HUGE thing. My kids attend a top rated charter in our city, but a few miles from our home. There are students from all sorts of neighborhoods. But the fact that our school competes with schools in millionaire zones has meant that people don't need to take out obscene mortgages they can't afford to educate their children.
The astronomical cost of private education (as a result of education inflation everywhere) has taken away private schooling from the upper middle class with multiple children. The charter schools has allowed us to have a family size we are happy with, a good education for our children, and stay in a house we can afford instead of needing to trade up.
The kicker, our charter school gets 95% of the funding as a traditional school, and our charter rents its building instead of getting it for free. The taxpayers save, the families get a good school, and the housing pressure for elite neighborhoods is lessoned. Now, our charter isn't a great solution for the truly poor. There is a required volunteer/financial contribution (either/or) per family, the school fundraises for stuff that might be provided in a public school, etc., there is no bussing. But if you are working class and willing to make a real sacrifice, or middle class and willing to give up some luxuries, you get a GREAT education.
But things like art classes are gone, and offered as after school programs, etc. But for many of us, an extra $300-$2500/year/student - depending on add-ons chose - is way more affordable than either private schooling ($15k-$20k/student) or fancier housing, $10k-$15k or more per year. I fail to see the downside.