Charter-Friendly Political Environment
Certain well-intentioned laws and regulations stifle innovation in a field that has seen little change in the last century. The Rocketship Public School Model has redefined the ‘traditional classroom’ and has seen immense success in raising student achievement in low-income communities—serving populations that have struggled for years in typical classrooms. Instructional minutes and teacher credentialing requirements in some states prohibit individualized online learning in the Learning Lab, which has been credited as a major factor to our Rocketeers’ academic success. Lack of access to high-quality facilities or bureaucratic zoning laws and regulations for charter schools is a continual hurdle for growing charter school networks. Governance laws can prohibit national networks from centrally governing and managing schools, adding layers of complication that takes the organization’s focus away from ensuring academic success of our students. Rocketship oversees each school through its national Board of Directors, which is appointed like a traditional non-profit and follows all open meeting and conflict of interest regulations making it fully transparent and accountable to public entities which authorize its schools. To ensure local input, Rocketship creates an advisory board for each city in which it operates, with each advisory board chair serving on Rocketship’s Board of Directors. These political challenges—instructional requirements created for traditional schools, poor access to facilities, and restrictive governance laws—are just a few examples of the barriers we face when we consider opening Rocketship Schools into new states.
In order to open a successful new region, we intend to collaborate with local organizations to analyze potential political barriers to our proven educational model. We intend to partner with local education quality advocates in order to create and execute a plan to reform or remove state and local laws that stand in the way of students from low-income communities having access to the high-quality education that they deserve.
When exploring partnerships with cities nationwide, Rocketship seeks to partner with superintendents, mayors, school districts, and community leaders who have the political will and urgency to close the achievement gap in their respective cities within a decade. In addition to being able to open as many elementary schools as necessary, Rocketship shares its learning approach and model with all public school leaders to help spur change and eliminate the achievement gap, empowering the community to improve all schools.