The Rocketship Education brand has rarely faced issues with the media battling against the rise of charter schools. In 2016, NPR published a deeply unbalanced blog detailing what author Anya Kamenetz who senior executives at the charter school believe failed to provide a deeper understanding of the work they are completing. Social media platforms lit up with comments from those with little to no experience of the work of Rocketship Education, prompting CEO, Preston Smith to respond to some of the claims made in the NPR blog.
The majority of the issues raised in the NPR piece have been mentioned and addressed by executives at Rocketship Education, but many anecdotes were used as primary evidence. A sense of unhappiness was felt by members of the Rocketship Education community due to the use of language the nonprofit believed to be purposely seeking out controversy. Rocketship Education was described in the NPR blog as a “company”, a term defended by the author as halting the use of other terms too many times. However, the nonprofit was never referred to as such or as an organization.
Among the claims made in the NPR blog is that of parents exiting the charter school system in great numbers to return to public schools. However, this was purely an anecdotal claim made by a former parent at the charter school system which was left unverified in the report. One of the main criticisms of the NPR blog has been the lack of balance in the piece with a greater number of words afforded the unhappy parent than those praising the school. Critics have also pointed out the Rocketship Education charter school system has grown from a single class in a Church hall to a campus in 13 different locations across the U.S. Stating why this charter school network is so popular woould have provided a small amount of balance in a deeply biased report.