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December 31, 2012

Can Rocketship Launch a Fleet of Successful, Mass-Produced Schools? (Opening in Milwaukee later in 2013)

PBS NewsHour:

JEFFREY BROWN: Now we look to a California education experiment called the Rocketship Model that involves teachers, kids and parents and aims to expand one day to serve a million students.

NewsHour's special correspondent for education, John Merrow, has our report.

JOHN MERROW: The Model T was the first, the first innovative and affordable car available to the masses. Others had built good cars, but Henry Ford figured out how to build a lot of them. He and his moving assembly line proved that quality can be mass-produced.

Mass production is a problem the auto industry solved over 100 years ago, but it's an issue our education system has yet to figure out. America has lots of terrific schools. People open great schools every year, but typically open just one. Nobody has figured out how to mass-produce high-quality, cost-effective schools.

John Danner is the latest to give it a shot. He created an innovative charter school model with replication in mind. Charter schools receive public funding, but are privately managed and operate outside of the traditional public system.


JOHN MERROW: New Orleans, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Memphis have all approved charters for Rocketship schools to be built in their cities. Next year, two new schools will open in San Jose and one in Milwaukee. Danner plans to have 46 schools up and running in five years, with a vision of someday serving 50 cities and a million students. If he succeeds, Rocketship could become the Model T of education.

Notes and links on Rocketship's arrival in Milwaukee.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 31, 2012 4:45 AM
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The video to this story is quite damning. I'm sure the CEO Danner is hopeful he can make his millions from living off the taxpayers dole with "innovative" charter schools.

Key points make this an obvious scam. The CEO is a Silicon Valley exec, meaning technology is the solution. He has three years of experience teaching, therefore he is an expert. The teachers he hires are TFA teachers with two years experience, which make them experts. The kids go to large room with many computers all playing "learning" games, with hourly employees helping the kids. Oh, and the large room with all the computers doesn't seem to be working, so they are considering placing the computers in the classrooms themselves. And there is no art, music, and other non-STEM courses.

Of course, non-union, which means good. He doesn't want unions because this will limit the ability to change how they do things on a whim. They want to be flexible. It is true, that if you don't know what you are doing, then you need to be flexible because you're just experimenting on the kids and families.

Sixty years ago, it was TV that would change how school worked. Today, it's computers. In the last 20 years, it was calculators; now kids can't add or multiply or sketch graphs because they have graphing calculators that do all the work for them.

Frankly, that such ruses continue to succeed only shows how uneducated the American population is.

Posted by: Larry Winkler at December 31, 2012 1:30 PM
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