Friday, June 24, 2016

High Test Scores At A Nationally Lauded Charter Network, But At What Cost? : NPR Ed : NPR

High Test Scores At A Nationally Lauded Charter Network, But At What Cost? : NPR Ed : NPR:

High Test Scores At A Nationally Lauded Charter Network, But At What Cost?





Since its inception nearly a decade ago in Silicon Valley, Rocketship has been among the most nationally applauded charter networks, hailed as an innovative model of blended learning.
Founder John Danner, who made a fortune in Internet advertising, originally envisioned enrolling 1 million students by 2020, relying on the strength of three pillars — "personalized learning" with software, excellent teachers and parent involvement — to raise the achievement of underserved students.
Today there are 13 Rocketship schools, with 6,000 students, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nashville, Tenn., and Milwaukee, with one scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., this fall. The students, largely low-income and Hispanic, outperform their peers on state tests.
The school has impressed parents like Letty Gomez, who grew up in East San Jose and whose first-grader attends Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep there.
She says from her very first visit, what she saw was, "Every single teacher and administrator ... motivated the students. They were encouraging the students. I have never seen that on any other campus [where] I myself went to school or that my children had attended." The company says that 91 percent of families return each year.
Students and teachers at Fuerza Community Prep dance during their daily morning assembly.
Students and teachers at Fuerza Community Prep dance during their daily morning assembly.
Preston Gannaway for NPR
Yet despite its successes, as Rocketship has pushed to expand, some parents, teachers and community members have objected in public meetings, raising concerns about the school's tech-heavy instruction model, student-teacher ratio, and student health and safety.
In interviews over the past two months, current and former employees at Rocketship Schools emphasized the pressures on employees and students. They recounted High Test Scores At A Nationally Lauded Charter Network, But At What Cost? : NPR Ed : NPR:
 

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