Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rocketship Charter Schools

The Huffington Post has an article and video about a new type of charter school called Rocketship Education here.  The goal of the founder is to create charter schools that can easily be replicated everywhere--sort of a factory-line type of education.  The children spend a lot of time in a huge computer lab, with aides instead of teachers, and in the morning have a huge, rah-rah type gathering called Launch.  Here is my comment:

I'm speaking as a high school English teacher for 35 years, who taught in public, private, and parochial schools.

What they are doing seems kind of gimmicky--"Launch" and that huge lab.  That's all we saw that was different, and neither seemed impressive.  Teaching is definitely about forming caring relationships with kids, but Launch just seemed too big and noisy.  And I found that even high school students needed a lot of help and supervision in a computer lab to stay on task.

My real objection, however, is that the heart of the education failure--so few students develop a love and habit of reading, which is really a love of learning--is not dealt with at all.  I saw a few teachers reading stories out loud.  Okay.  But do the kids have books?  Are they reading?  Or just staring at screens?

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