A Response to NPR’s critics of RocketShip Education Charter School

CEO and Founder of Rocketship Public Schools Preston Smith, a public charter education school that serves within low-income communities across the country, has recently written a response to what he called NPR’s “Takedown piece” of the Rocketship education institution. Although Smith is well aware and used to the criticism and judgment placed on his charter education school as well as many others, parents and most staff members are not. Therefore, it was to no surprise that he would then get a flood of calls and emails commenting on the false information and negative representation of the school within the NPR article.

The NPR Articles was written by Anya Kamenetz, a well-known proponent of the anti-testing movement, and although the piece claimed many falsehoods about the operations, Anya Kamenetz never once visited any of the Rocketship Public schools locations for a first-hand experience. In a recent article by Paul Tough, he mentions that the work to close the achievement gap is working, however, it is still a difficult job for those not used to teaching in high-poverty schools. See more here.

CEO and Founder Preston Smith in this piece would go on to list some of the school’s facts that Anya Kamenetz got very wrong within her piece, beginning with the notion that many of their students were not returning to the Rocketship Public Schools the following year. According to school records, over 90% of their students returned to the school the following year. Preston Smith states that they are not forced to come back, they have a reserved seat at their respective district schools.

In regards to her suspicion of the high test results, Preston Smith dispells her accusations that the students where simply re-taking the tests to receive better grades. Mr.Smith says that her accusations stem from a group of students who needed to re-take an exam, however, these where 6 students out of the 4,565 tests administered, a re-take that was approved by the State of California and not solely by the staff of Rocketship Public Schools.

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