Recently, Anya Kamenetz published a post about the state of affairs in schools such as Rocketship Education. She questioned many aspects of Rocketship Education’s way of enforcing discipline, providing knowledge and protecting students. The national network of charter schools’ Co-Founder and CEO, Preston Smith, took it to the media to express his dissatisfaction with the NPR blogger’s report.
Preston Smith said that their schools are posing impressive results and that might have been the only true thing that the report pointed out. However, Anya Kamenetz went ahead to taint the success without due diligence. She did not dig in to find exactly how they achieve the results. According to him, they rely on hard work to achieve good results. In any case, parents wouldn’t be recommending Rocketship Education to friends and relatives.
Mr. Smith pointed out that they carried out a survey and found out that 72% of parents recommended Rocketship to others. He said that the results are merited and it is evident from the performance of their alumni students in middle schools. The charter schools’ alumni are topping their classes in middle school and that points towards the quality and credibility of their examining and testing system.
The report also pointed out issues to do with bathroom breaks policing in the schools. Mr. Smith clarified that bathroom management can be so complex and issues emanating from bathroom management are not unique to Rocketship. They leave bathroom breaks to the discretion of their teachers and leaders because they understand the needs of their students better. The charter schools don’t make bathroom management blanket policies.
There are a few cases where students are injured during bathroom breaks. While that is inacceptable, it can’t be used to mean schools with more than 7000 students are unsafe. Preston Smith holds the view that those are challenges that any other elementary school go through and their schools are doing way better than other district elementary schools. If at all there was something to worry about, parents would be the first people to raise alarm.
Technology is used in the schools to advance in-depth learning and knowledge acquisition. While the report portrays Rocketship’s use of technology as inappropriate, the use of technology goes beyond “screen time”.
About Rocketship Education
Rocketship was started in 2012 with 450 students only enrolling. It was founded with the mission to avail education to every child and build a good background to students.