Founded in 2006 by Preston Smith and John Danner, Rocketship Education aims to provide advanced learning solutions for low-income students. With this model their goal is to omit achievement gaps between students who come from high income families and those on the opposite end of the spectrum. What started out as a California based school is now in four different states. Receiving donations from numerous celebrities and athletes has expedited Rocketship Education’s growth. Some of the high profile individuals who donated have been Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix; and the Obama administration. The online learning and small group tutoring paradigm that they provide tremendously caters to their students.
Some media outlets have criticized the charter school for it’s a abundant use of technology. Cofounder of Rocketship Education Preston Smith stated he feels a great responsibility to our children who are left behind sometimes more than one grade level. He feels that spending 90 minutes engaging in media based learning helps fill learning voids they would encounter in traditional schooling. He says that he’s gotten accustomed to anti charter school attacks from the media. The unfortunate part he mentions is that the staff members and parents have not. Although some parents and staff grow concerns over misconceptions made by different media sources, they are all confident in the progress that is being made. Preston Smith states that removing avoidable learning blocks can tremendously help with comprehension and speed up the learning process. A lot of these assumptions are made by people who’ve never physically stepped foot in the school to experience what’s going on first hand. There is a reason behind the consistent high test scores Rocketship Charter Schools puts out. The preparation and style of learning these students receive enables them to perform at higher levels and with confidence. With technology being the future and thousands of schools currently integrating media learning, Rocketship was ahead of their time with their approach. Replying to criticism of too much screen time, the founder of RE expresses that there is a clear difference between education screen time and entertainment screen time. They remain purposeful with the screens they put in front of their students.