Rocketship Education and its Response to Media

According to an article on washingtonmonthly.com, Rocketship Education administration was not impressed by NPR’s unbalanced profile about the charter network. The story by NPR covered alleged malpractices of the network, but has largely been criticized by Rocketship supporters and journalist for its lack of balance and breadth. Also, the NPR piece has been criticized for failing to paint the network’s complete and fair picture. To begin with, the author of the story claimed that it was an “in-depth” coverage of the network’s internal practices and yet it did not compare Rocketship Education with other neighboring schools for readers to have a balanced view. The report only relied on the network’s problematic practices to bring out a story that was completely out of context. In fact, it was quite evident that other charter networks also face similar challenges.

According to Richard Whitmire, a long-term Rocketship author and journalist, other school networks have ritualistic protocols, tight discipline, high pressure, and long hours like Rocketship Education. Therefore, it was unfair for NPR to only target the Rocketship Network in its reporting. It was quite evident that NPR was out to destroy the network’s impressive reputation. The practices are not in any way unique to Rocketship Education as the NPR piece tried to portray. In fact, Whitmire signaled out Success Academy and KIPP as other charter school networks with similar practices to Rocketship Education. The network has always received a lot of attention after its decision to adopt a tech-heavy model. Therefore, the narrow nature of the piece makes the story to lose its credibility. The article constantly referred to Rocketship Education as a “company” in order to portray it as being privatization-oriented or commercial.

Rocketship Education Bio

Rocketship Education is a network of non-profit charter schools based in California. The network was established in 2006 by Preston Smith and John Danner, but the first school was opened in 2007 in San Jose. The charter schools were formed to serve disadvantaged communities in the country. Currently, the network has over 13 schools with close to one thousand employees. The network relies on grants from well-wishers to fund its activities hence providing low-income students with an opportunity to get an education.