A recent NPR article titled “High Test Scores-But At What Cost?” was recently praised for its coverage of the inner workings of one of the nations newest charter school organizations, Rocketship Education. Anya Kamenetz, the writer of the article has, however, been accused of producing an unbalanced and biased view of the school, mostly by parents and staff of Rocketship Education. Although the article did present some of the new methods being taught at the school, the challenges that came with those new methods seemed to have taken the spotlight.
Rocketship Education is an organization with various charter schools around the country. The primary goal of the charter school according to their spokesperson is to help close the gap of achievement within the poorest neighborhoods of major cities; this is why many of the students are usually from these areas. Since 2006, the organization has been able to serve over 18,000 children across the four cities that the charter schools are locating in.
Longtime journalist Richard Whitmire stated that the piece written by Mrs. Kamenetz should not have been defined as “n-depth” as it never really compared Rocketship Education to other schools around the community. Although Anya Kamenetz praises the school for its blend of alternative education and high test scores, she concludes that this is nothing that the public hasn’t seen from all other charter schools in the country. She goes on to point out some of the issues that school is currently facing such as the high-pressure situations children are put in, long hours in front of a computer screen and a very stringent bathroom policy to name a few. Anya Kamenetz defends her article by saying that she interviewed a happy and angry parent about the school.
The article, however, does not mention anything on the fact that year after year the school’s return policy (Students who continue to come back) is much higher than district schools. Many see this piece as a hit job more than a journalistic approach as well as a distraction towards the fight of the much-needed education reform. NPR did not allow the editors and or author of the article to respond to questions. Therefore, their Twitter responses are all we have for the moment.
Connect with Rocketship Education here https://www.facebook.com/RocketshipSchools/