The unfolding experiment with charter schools evokes powerful feelings from both charter school and traditional government school operators. Just as one might expect from rivals in business, both charter school principals and traditional public school superintendents are likely to feel that competition is "unfair" to them. Many charter school principals complain that they do not receive the same level of funding as do traditional public schools and that they do not have facilities provided for them. Superintendents often complain that charters educate younger students to avoid the high costs of high school education and that they are not required to provide all of the same services.

Despite these complaints, many superintendents expressed positive views about competition with charter schools. Some superintendents admitted that charter schools had forced them to pay closer attention to parents. "We are not ABC, CBS, and NBC anymore," said one superintendent, implying that public schooling used to be as unassailable as the old "Big Three" television networks. No longer is this the case: "If you see the Huns coming, you need to man the towers," another superintendent commented.