Why Did DeVos Give Millions to Low-Performing Rocketship Charter Schools?

“For years education activists and district officials have been raising alarms about Rocketship’s negative effect on student well-being. [Overwhelming poor and Latino] students just five to ten years old sit in front of computers for 80 to100 minutes per day . . .That screen time is so valued by Rocketship that there’s almost no time for art or play. Students are even discouraged from taking bathroom breaks.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Karen Wolfe is baffled: why did Betsy DeVos just give $12.5 million to Rocketship charter chain, which has a dismal record? Rocketship puts poor kids in front of computers and employs teacher aides to save money.

“Silicon Valley-based Rocketship is a charter school chain with a bevy of star backers that’s reported sky-high student achievement and recently landed a $12.6 million grant from Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education. But beyond the hype is a galaxy of problems, including plummeting test scores, litigation and allegations of student mistreatment.

Co-founded by the brain behind Yahoo’s first advertising platform, John Danner and Teach For America alum, Preston Smith, Rocketship has attracted the support of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists whose fortunes were made disrupting industries with tech: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and early Apple investor Arthur Rock, among others.

“Rocketship has grown over the last decade into a network of thirteen…

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