Prior to 2002 there were two schools of thought about charter and charter scale with sufficient funding to have a recognizable voice in public discourse: 1) a bottom-up, "membership" - oriented perspective based on independent charters and local social entrepreneurs; 2) a top-down "leadership" -oriented" perspective focused on the nonprofit Charter Management Organization. (The second group, not I, coined the two terms). The proponents of the leadership model are part of the aforementioned network which includes the charter movements funders - especially in the Walton Family and Gates Foundations, and the financial intermediary New Schools Venture Fund and more specifically their program officers. After 2003, proponents of the bottom-up school and their organization were defunded, neutered, or taken over at the state level - consider Eric Premack (Charter School Development Center) and the fight over control of the state association in California, John Ayres (Leadership for Public Education) in Chicago, and Shirley Monestra (DC Charter School Resource Center) in the District of Columbia. Voila, the top-down school emerged as the only viable voice nationally or Washington for the movement. And remarkably, all those little folks who cant make it without that foundation support got very quiet about it all very fast.
I'm glad someone's willing to write this kind of stuff down in convenient blog form.