What Drives the Impressive Results of Rocketship Education Students?
Public charter schools are often vulnerable to attacks by their critiques. This is no different with the California-based non-profit public charter Rocketship Education. In a vicious attack from blogger Kamenetz of NPR in 2016 (which Rocketship CEO dubbed “a takedown piece”), various aspects arose. First, NPR painted a lousy picture on classroom management techniques of Rocketship. Next were how students use technology and how the least qualified teaching staffs face challenges. Even though the blogger Anya Kamenetz admitted that Rocketship is lauded nationally for its impressive student performances, she critiques the cost of getting these results. And Preston Smith, the co-founder and chief executive of Rocketship, gave a detailed response to the critiques.
The response by Smith revolved around the details behind the impressive results of Rocketship Education students, which he claims that Kamenetz failed to capture in her blog. The public charter schools received 90% turnaround of students. This means that even though these students have spots in their district homes, they chose to come back to Rocketship every year. Reason? First, there is a balanced approach on how to manage behavioral changes; the network doesn’t have any policy on bathroom and silent breaks because there must be a balance, and these breaks remain to the discretion of teachers who understands students’ needs. Smith also acknowledges the use of technology for innovation, beyond screen time. This has been a routine practice for his school networks. Finally, over 8,000 parents sent their kids to Rocketship schools in 2017, with others on the waiting list. These parents drive miles of roads throughout the country to take their children to the charter network. Certainly, they couldn’t be doing this in vain – there must be a reason. And the reason, rephrasing the school’s mission, is to use technology and innovation for quality education.
About Rocketship Education
Rocketship focuses on low-income regions of Washington DC., Wisconsin, California, and Tennessee. The 12-year-old school is non-profits, and Preston Smith is the CEO after the departure of John Danner. The firm opened its first school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2013. Since then, it has expanded into being a chain of applauded national public charter schools.