Rocketship Education was established in 2006 by John Danner and Preston Smith. Its head office is in San Jose, California but it has several schools in other countries and cities in the United States. The school is a non-profit organization of the Charter Management project. Rocketship education aims to serve different countries while promoting learning diversity. The school provides a broad platform of learning; it has different learning categories that cater for those with learning disabilities or any other form of disability and healthy children. Rocketship education has some schools in California but by 2014 they had decided to go global with the initiative to expand the organization. Rocketship Education manages elementary schools that offer personalized education by ensuring that they provide students with what they want. They also provide technology for learning like laptops and computers since technology provides extensive research. They believe that teachers should have a good relationship with the parents to understand better what their kids want.

Rocketship Education values the engagement of parents in the school’s programs. The school has a platform for parents to express themselves since it is a K-5 education system interactions are natural. The platform has benefited the education system since it has led to the development of quality schools. The school is also advocating for parents to enroll their kids in the school due to the extensive learning opportunities they provide. Rocketship is a diverse school that values ethnicity. It has no limits on the type of students it enrolls; students from all form of backgrounds are accepted at the school. Apart from student diversity, the school’s teacher are also from different races thus encouraging parents to be comfortable in enrolling their kids in the school. The system uses ethnicity to its advantage by letting students interact with each other thus promoting cultural diversity. The school’s founder has children at the school; this eliminates hypocrisy in leaders who build a program but lack self or family involvement. Rocketship Education believes in the participation of both children with disabilities and healthy kids. They are all taught in one classroom deficient of discrimination.

Read more about parent involvement in the system here

Unfair criticism of the charter schools system is nothing new, but a 2016 article published by NPR led to a backlash from those heading the drive to build a better-working school system. The article used the Rocketship Education charter schools network as the basis for its evidence but failed to give any sense of balance in the writing of the blog by Anya Kamenetz. There were many “red flags” for the leadership of Rocketship Education including the inflammatory language used and the anecdotal evidence the article was based on.

NPR responded to the criticism from Rocketship Education CEO, Preston Smith by stating both a parent happy with their experience at the school and an unhappy guardian had been contacted. However, Rocketship Education was only established in 2006 by two public school teachers in San Jose, California and now included 13 locations across the U.S. Parents at the Nashville, Tennessee location found themselves writing an open letter in support of the academic institution when it was unfairly criticized by state politicians. NPR’s blog failed to address the popularity of Rocketship Education or the charter schools movement as a whole. Criticizing Rocketship Education without taking the time to research why it has grown at such a fast rate gives the impression the blogger and NPR were seeking out controversy.

The issues raised by the NPR blog were not dismissed by Preston Smith, but they have been directly addressed and a response given to all the major problems identified. Preston Smith believes the question of staffing levels in schools is an important one for every institution to address, including each campus associated with Rocketship Education. The employment of those without teaching certification is a tough one but is vital for the success of students at all levels. Smith understands the concern of employing tutors and mentors without certification is controversial but is required because of financial constraints. Each non-certified staff member is supervised when handling a large group of students to ensure they are reaching the specified academic level of achievement.