Rocketship Education is a foundation focused on providing quality education to children from low-income communities through chartered public schools. Since it began its operations in 2007, it has launched 25 schools. It began its operations in San Jose. San Jose was once American Dream’s launching pad. Most of the students who came from the community in the 1980s were just as capable as students from Canada, Denmark, and other developed countries.
San Jose’s Crisis
However, in the recent years, the economic situation at San Jose has plummeted. Middle-class jobs are few, and the wealthy and the poor have become socially segregated. Consequently, the educational performance of students has significantly deteriorated. To salvage the situation, Rocketship Education began chartered schools to equip students with necessary skills for success in life. The schools also teach personalized curricula on social issues such as conflict resolution and emotional management.
Besides its unique curricula, Rocketship Education encourages parental participation in the education of their children. One unique parental participation role in the schools is the hiring of teachers. In some cases, all the parents meet the shortlisted candidates in community meetings. In many instances, selected parents take part in the actual interviews.
Parental and Community Support
Parental support has been a major catalyst in the success of these schools. Parents have continuously defended the school against attacks and criticism from those who insist on traditional zoned public schools. At one point, 374 parents signed an open letter addressed to Metro Nashville Public Schools board defending the chartered public schools. In addition to parental goodwill, the Rocketship Education has also received support business leaders in the area. Critical support has come from Reed Hastings and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEOs of Netflix and Facebook respectively.
The results of the initiative have been tremendous. Research conducted by Stanford University’s Centre for Research on Education Outcomes, CREDO indicated the positive impact these chartered schools have on improving student performance. It proved that; by attending high performing chartered school for a year, students from high poverty communities in San Jose gain more than a month of quality learning.