When it comes to Public Charter Schools like Rocketship Education, a California-based network of schools, co-founder and CEO of Rocket Education, Preston Smith, has a lot to say. In his 2016 piece, “Response: What NPR’s ‘Hit Piece’ Got Wrong in Attacking Rocketship’s ‘Impressive Results,'” Preston Smith defended Rocketship Education profusely.
Smith called NPR’s piece, which was penned by Anya Kamenetz a “takedown piece.” Mr. Smith also mentioned that attacks on his public charter school, Rocketship Educational is something that he has gotten used to, specifically, pieces like NPR has done about Rocketship.
Mr. Smithemphasized the fact that he may have gotten used to the attacks on Rocketship education, but parents of children who are attending Rocketship schools and the staffers at Rocketship have not. After Anya Kamenetz’s piece about Rocketship Education, the inbox of Preston Smith’s email was swamped with much disdain over the input that was not included in Kamenetz’s story.
Preston Smith also stated that approximately two-thirds of Rocketship Educations’ sources reached out to Smith to express their key issues with NPR’s misrepresenting of comments that the sources had made concerning Rocketship Education.
However, Kamenetz’s rebuttal on Twitter about the mischaracterization was that she quoted a happy parent and one that was a not so happy, ex-parent. Some have noted that Kamenetz’s piece about Rocketship Education compares to an Obamacare health care plan, deep, but very narrow.
A very controversial element to Kamenetz’s NPR piece was the continual description to Rocketship Education as being deemed a company. Relating Rocketship Education to a company that is commercial or privatized is a very sensitive issue, especially in the education milieu.
Some of those who defended the NPR piece — many of whom are critics of Rocketship Education — made the point that non-profits often depend on for-profit firms to receive materials and services. In these cases, the tax designation is not important.
With the use of “company” in the NPR piece by Kamenetz, some noted that the use of this word should have been an obvious red-flag for the writer’s editors, but somehow, it slipped past them.