Public school systems in the United States have been a debate for decades. Many have accused the system of providing a quality of education that is equivalent to the income status of the neighborhood that its in. Because of this, students that live in lower income neighborhoods are often victims of lower quality education, technology that isn’t up to standard, and lack of books and other resources that would enhance their education. This creates an achievement gap–one in which students from low-income areas are at an educational disadvantage because of their circumstances at home rather than their efforts in school.
One entrepreneur, Preston Smith, set out to change this standard of education in 2006. He, along with his partner John Danner, founded Rocketship Education (RSED). RSED is a public charter school network that aims to provide top quality education for students of low income neighborhoods. Their vision began with a single school in San Jose, California that exceeded expectations. Shortly after the opening of the first school, many more followed and now RSED has schools in four different states in the United States.
RSED is a non-profit 501 organization that provides free tuition to children in low income areas. Over 90% of their students receive free school lunch and the students have access to the nations top teachers and advanced technology. RSED has received over $3.3 million in grants and venture capital to fund the network of schools. Many high-profile people such as Mark Zuckerburg and Andre Agassi have made donations to RSED to ensure its continued success.
RSED has been achieving outstanding results in every state that their schools are located in. Innovate Public Schools released a study in 2016 of the top performing schools in the Bay area. Six of RSED’s school were listed in the report. In Milwalkee, Rocketship ranks #4 in math and English Language Arts performance charter schools serving 84 predominantly low-income areas. In Washington D.C., RSED earned Tier 1 status which is the highest rank for public schools in the area. Rocketship Education will continue to expand, making a huge positive impact on education throughout the United States for students in low-income areas.