On the Rocketship

Richard Whitmire’s new book chronicles a bumpy ride for Rocketship charter schools…

9781118607640.pdfEduShyster: Your book is meant to chronicle the take-off of a high-performing charter school but to me it read more like a cautionary tale. You made the strongest case I’ve seen for why Silicon Valley-style disruption and education are a mismatch. I’m thinking of Rocketship’s decision to blow up its instructional model, making classrooms much larger, in order to generate more revenue for expansion.

Richard Whitmire: There were actually two reasons for that model change. California’s per-pupil spending is $7,500, one of the lowest in the country.The state was cutting back further at that time and delaying payment to charters. Rocketship also felt that it had hit kind of a wall. They’d been able to take these low-income minority kids to the mid 800’s [on the California Academic Performance Index (API)], but they weren’t getting up to the level of the suburban schools. This seemed to solve both of those problems at once. They could save some money and they could do some more personalized learning in this larger classroom.  Continue reading →

Planet Ponzi

Rocketship Education’s plan for intergalactic domination hits a rough patch

Editor’s note: Rocketship Education responded on Twitter that my post was *great fun to read* and contained *rocket word play to the max,* but that my *facts are a bit off.* For your reading pleasure, I’ve noted some of Rocketship’s specific issues with my claims and included some of the company’s responses at the end of the post—JCB

Once upon a time there was a boldly disruptive innovator who had a boldly disruptive idea. Why not turn old school schools into rocketships by fitting them with thrusters and boosters, then send them soaring into outer space where, thanks to zero gravity that keeps expectations buoyant, there is no achievement gap? Strap yourself in reader. We’re headed up, up and away to see for ourselves how this space-age disruption is faring.

Continue reading →