NPR Rocketship Education Run Down

Rocketship Education is company that runs charter schools in California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Washington D.C.. It began in 2006 as an alternative education method for high achieving but low income students – those that couldn’t afford the private schools that can provide better opportunities. Rocketship Education uses a hybrid educational method, with individualised lessons taught online – as well as small group discussions and traditional classroom learning. The overall mission of the Rocketship charter school system is to work with communities and national charities to help diminish or eliminate the achievement gap in lower income communities. Since it’s founding, Rocketship Education became linked with various charity partners, as well as private companies making philanthropic contributions to the school system.

A recent National Public Radio (NPR) show was broadast about Rocketship Education. The show attracted a significant amount of criticism from Rocketship proponents. Main criticisms state that the piece had coverage without context, as in, the piece discusses challenges faced by the Rocketship Education system with context of these challenges. In addition, the surrounding schools are not mentioned at all in the broadcast. Yet, Rocketship is hailed as one of the most successful systems in the areas where there are Charter schools. This is a flawed method of comparison, as only the data for one side is actually presented. This is not the only criticism garnered by the NPR broadcast. See more of the negative report by NPR here https://washingtonmonthly.com/2016/06/27/nprs-deeply-unbalanced-profile-of-rocketship-charter-schools/.

Supporters and members of the Rocketship Education system also express criticism that the parents quoted in the story were a misrepresentation of the charter school as a whole. One two parents were quoted for a story of significant size. It seems as though the parents chosen to provide quotations were chosen specifically to uphold the narrative of the piece. As in, a happy and satisfied parent was chosen and an angry and dissatisfied former parent (of the system) were chosen. This was supposed to illustrate the satisfaction of the parents who had children currently in the Rocketship charter school network. Finally, some supports had issues with the particular words used to describe Rocketship Education, one example of this was when it was referred to as a company. See the network’s response on the criticism in this article.