Charter School Rocketship Education Raises Concerns Over NPR Article

A response by NPR for what many are calling a hit piece on the reputation of charter school Rocketship education has been non-existent. Staff and supporters of the charter school demanded an answer from NPR, and the article’s author Anya Kamenetz for various discrepancies in the article titled “High Test Scores-But At What Cost?” In the piece, Mrs.Kamenetz comments on the high-pressure classrooms, strict bathroom rules and the number of unsatisfied parents. Many supporters of Rocketship Education point out that Mrs.Kamenetz did not fully immerse herself in the classroom nor bothered to see the bigger picture of current challenges. As one administrator put it, “much like Obamacare, the piece is deep but narrow.”

Rocketship Education is based out of the San Jose Bay Area with an additional three locations across the country. Although Rocketship Education is very similar to other charter schools, Rocketship has been able to stand out of the crown through the use of technology in the classroom. The goal of Rocketship education is to close the achievement gap between students in wealthier areas of the community and students who are less fortunate. The school was founded in 2006 and since then has been able to reach and education over 18,000 students.

Another area that supporters of the school did not take quite well is the use of the word “company” within the NPR article. The word company to those not familiar with Rocketship Education can come across as if they are in it for a profit when in fact half of their funding is provided by the taxpayer and any additional funding is collected from private donors. Mrs.Kamenetz defended herself on Twitter by saying that she is proud of her work and the comments giving to her were from an interview between a satisfied parent and an angry parent. Supporters are still attempting to theorize why the article was written the way it was, was it mean as an anti-reform zeitgeist or merely to create controversy and therefore exposure, we may never know.

See the whole article here https://www.the74million.org/article/response-what-nprs-hit-piece-got-wrong-in-attacking-rocketships-impressive-results/.

Betsy DeVos And Her Education Reform Pursuits Prior To Being US Education Secretary

Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Education Secretary has been no stranger to attention and criticism as a result of political donations made by her and her husband, Dick DeVos. In 2015, it was reported that the couple donated $5.3 million towards campaigns over the previous 5 years. However, the two are also known for their charitable contributions, which add up to almost $139 million.

 

 

Betsy DeVos has been at the forefront of the educational reform movement, and in a 2013 interview with the Philanthropy publication she discussed her journey over the years. She served on the board of Children First America as well as the American Education Reform Council during the 90s, both charities aiming to expand educational choices via vouchers and through tax credits. Betsy and her husband Dick were involved in passing the first charter-school bill in the state of Michigan in 1993

 

 

Besides her role with the charities, she has also been involved in politics for a long time, serving as chair of the Michigan Republican Party for a number of years. She started a political action committee named Great Lakes Education project, which promoted education reform through the expansion of charter schools in Michigan. The work of the committee was successful from 2001 to 2002, with friends suggesting that the movement be taken to a national level.

 

 

This was the beginning of her involvement with the American Federation for Children, as a result of needing a cohesive effort, due to the fact that advocacy, in order for it to succeed, needs for a lot of moving parts to be coordinated – such as identifying potential legislators and educating them about the issue, getting them elected, etc. The American Federation for Children is considered an umbrella organization, and is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children Action Fund, which is AFC’s political action committee.

 

 

Over the course of her career, she led a variety of party organizations, political action committees, and campaigns. When it comes to the business side of things, she is the chairman of the Windquest Group, which is a multi-company operating group designed to invest in clean energy, manufacturing and technology. The company was established by her and her husband back in 1989. The two are also chief investors as well as board members of Neurocore, which is a group of brain performance centers that offer biofeedback therapy for depression, autism, anxiety, and other disorders.

 

Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.