Rocketship Education Wins The Title – But Of What?

In San Jose some 11 years ago, a man who had then worked in education for just five years named Preston Smith had founded a school called Rocketship Education with a friend and technology expert John Danner. Although the school got its start in a small church there in San Jose, it has since grown into one of the largest and highest-scoring charter school networks across America.

About two years ago – to be precise, about two years and six days ago – National Public Radio’s team published an opinion piece on Rocketship Education and more or less claimed that the school wasn’t worth its weight in salt.

Here are a few things that NPR article – more like a hit piece – got wrong about Rocketship Education, its high scores, and consistent transformations of poor-performance students at low-income schools into figurative clones of Albert Einstein.

The piece mentioned above discussed in part how touch adhering to Rocketship Education’s daily schedule is. While one thing is true – charter schools’ schedules are very rigid and rigorous because they strive to milk as many learning hours per classroom day as possible or risk losing classroom performance, in turn delegitimizing the status of such charter schools – Rocketship Education’s strict charter school schedule is tough, though not any tougher than its competitors and charter schools in totally other areas are.

It also claims that students spend so much time on their devices that little true learning is accomplished at Preston Smith’s nationwide mastermind of a school. Students spend roughly 80 minutes per day at school on their devices within the Rocketship Education line of schools. NPR’s piece wrongfully claimed that students spent up to 80 minutes per day on just one program, rather than telling the truth and sharing that they would switch between five programs roughly every 15 minutes. Some of these programs included Dreambox, ST Math, Lexia, and myOn.

Further, arguing that a school is having trouble regulating tech is not a great argument because virtually every school experiences the same issue.