NPR’s Story On Rocketship Education Elicits Debate

The recent coverage of the Rocketship charter school by NPR elicited commentaries, which have continued on Facebook and Twitter for the whole weekend. The story has won both admirers and defenders, one of them being Audrey Watters, whose tweet indicated that the reporting on Rocketship tech-centric chatter schools was great. It brought to the fore the internal practices of the charter network that has not been reported previously. However, the shortcoming of the story was the lack of breadth and balance.

The Rocketship Education supporters, however, felt that the story did no paint complete and fair picture of the network, but dealt exclusively on the challenges if faced without giving it context. Richard Whitmire, a longtime journalist and Rocketship Education author, said that for the NPR story to qualify as ‘in-depth’, it has to compare Rocketship charters to neighbouring schools. Blogger Anya Kamenetz wrote the original piece terming the 13-school Rocketship network as one of the most nationally applauded charter networks and viewed as the innovative blended learning model.

One of the things that have been the subject of attention over the years is the adoption of the tech-heavy model and its changing by the Rocketship Education network. Kamenetz did defend the balance of the story on twitter saying they quite a happy parent and an unhappy ex-parent. More so, the piece tells about the popularity of the schools and the context for the minimal anecdotes.

One of the areas of controversy about the piece is putting Rocketship as a ‘company’, which has numerous connotations, one of which is a reference to for-profit, privately owned entity, and not a non-profit. The choice of words is serious especially when it comes to sensitive issues in the world of education.

NPR did not allow the editors or Kamenetz to talk about the story except for their twitter responses.

About Rocketship Education

Rocketship Education is a system of public elementary charter schools that is a nonprofit. It focuses on low-income communities that have limited or no access to excellent schools. Since its founding in 2006, Rocketship education is dedicated to eliminating the achievement gap through the building of scalable and sustainable school model that enhances student’s achievement in under deserved communities around the country.

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