Washington, D.C., is getting its first Rocketship charter school. The building is under construction, and parents who plan to send their child have been invited to interview prospective teachers.
Rocketship started in San, Jose, California, where it was a sensation for a while. The business model is that kids spend a lot of time in front of computers, monitored by inexperienced teachers, mostly TFA. No art, no music. John Merrow did a segment about it on PBS, wondering if this was the Henry Ford factory-style school of the future. The scores of the Rocketship charters were high, which brought them much acclaim. But then the scores faded, and community opposition impeded the chain’s expansion.
Here is a recent analysis from the Hechinger Report:http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2015/07/05/rocketship-charter-network-criticized-overly-rigid/29646659/
But now Rocketship plans to open eight charters in DC. Very likely they are benefiting from the strong interest of the Walton Family Foundation in turning DC into another New Orleans: No public schools, private management, many TFA, no unions.
It is hard to believe that the Waltons actually believe that this model will have a dramatic effect on the children of DC. At present, DC has the largest achievement gaps of any urban district tested by NAEP.
The news here is not about parent involvement. The real news is that Kaya Henderson and the mayor of DC, who controls the schools, apparently have given up on public education and are prepared to privatize the public schools.