Rocketship’s stratospheric 40:1 student to teacher ratio

40:1 Student to Teacher Ratio:
Good for the bottom line, bad for the students

In 2006, Rocketship opened with great fanfare in San Jose.  It began with stratospheric test scores, small class sizes, and energetic teachers and leaders.  A thrilled community rallied around the “innovative” school.  But as the school grew, so did its class sizes.  Rocketship sold the community on a 27:1 student to teacher ratio, but Rockteship’s own board materials and the California Department of Education both agree that it’s actually 40:1.  As the class sizes have gone stratospheric, the students’ performance have crashed.  In the 2012-13 Rocketship finally achieved its 40:1 student to teacher ratio.  The same year, student reading proficiency dropped to the 50th percentile, no better than the state average for low income schools.  Rocketship’s board materials indicate they’ve considered plan to move up to a 50:1 student to teacher ratio, bolstering cash flow at the expense of the students they should be serving.


Community members were shocked to learn that Rocketship had considered raising their student to teacher ratio from 40:1 to 50:1 in order to generate almost $500,000 in revenue from educating low income students of color.  Rocketship’s predominantly white, unelected national board could enact such a plan with impunity, since the local community boards were abolished in August of 2013.

Rocketship’s Board considers raising their student to teacher ratio from 40:1 to 50:1 in order to generate hundreds of thousands a year in additional revenue.

Source: Page 14 of ***NOTE**** This document was removed after’s publicity. But we’ve archived all documents on our website for further public review, and changed the link to our local document library.


California Department of Education Dataquest report on Student to Teacher ratio.  Click on the school name to see the report on the CDE’s website.

FTE Teachers
Percent English Proficient
Pupil Teacher Ratio
Rocketship Discovery Prep6381643.3%39.9:1
Rocketship Los Suenos Academy6261544.6%41.7:1
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary5891656.5%36.8:1
Rocketship Si Se Puede Academy65816.251.2%40.6:1
Rocketship Mosaic Elementary6351657.4%39.7:1

In the video below Rocketship’s head of Community Development, Jessica Garcia-Kohl (who also happens to be the wife of a powerful City Councilman and mayoral candidate) provides inconsistent testimony to the San Jose City Council at the June 18th meeting regarding Rocketship Brilliant Minds. Here, Ms. Garcia-Kohl is answering questions from Council Member Don Rocha (a strong support of the downtown San Jose Community).  Rocketship’s professional lobbyist Erik Schoennauer also chimes in on the conversation.

Ms. Garcia-Kohl claims that Rocketship sticks to a 30:1 teacher to student ratio, however, Rocketship’s own board material set the goal at 41:1, as shown below.  Rockethip has trumpeted the baseless claim in on its new advocacy site, and in a recent Edsurge article.


Also, Ms. Garcia-Kohl conveniently failed to state in the video that Rocketship had increased their maximum attendance to 700 students just 1 month prior to this meeting. This was approved by the Santa Clara County Office of Education on 5-15-13, by a vote of 5-1-1. It’s hard to imagine cramming 700 students into their tiny 1 acre sites with 50:1 student to teacher ratios, but that’s exactly what they have been authorized to do!  Rocketship packs students into sites 10 times smaller than the California Department of Education recommends.  Rocketship has countered that day care regulations would be more appropriate for their “school”, as their famous investors cash in on millions in profits on the tiny schools.

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