Jay Mathews reviews “On the Rocketship”

Jay has it right: I do think Rocketship will bounce back quickly (I think it already has).  My reporting year happened to turn into their learning year, a turbulent time many top charter groups go through. They absorb the lessons-learned, adjust and move in a new direction. If superintendents and union leaders had been doing that with traditional district schools  we wouldn’t be seeing millions of parents requesting spots in charter schools.

The top charters — which I define as roughly the top fifth, and Rocketship definitely belongs there — have some unique opportunities for greatly expanding their reach. Jay focuses on my favorite example, Spring Branch schools in Houston. I like Spring Branch because its unique formula is a win-win for everyone: YES Prep and KIPP get great facilities at a low cost, the two sides of the schools learn from one another and more students get exposed to great charters. Plus, district leaders used the partnership as a reason to reset the student achievement goals for the entire district.

This is the original role charters were supposed to play. Why has it taken so long to come true?