Rocketship’s Aggressive New Growth Plans: Triple in 5 Years
Rocketship begins gearing up for major growth in the next 5 years. Growth attempts in Washington D.C. face community backlash
Rocketship’s board documents indicate they, again, plan to grow very aggressively in the next 5 years. Rocketship has touted aggressive growth plans in the past, but they’ve always faced delays as communities resist the model. The Mercury News discussed some of their difficulties in a June of 2014 Sunday morning front page article, “Rocketship Education changes course, slows expansion”. It appears that Rocketship’s growth plans are gaining steam again.
Rocketship is hoping to open a school in Washington DC, but faced a community backlash when Andre Agassi’s for-profit hedge fund corporation scouted a school site next to a half way house in the Anacostia community. Rocketship did not participate in the school siting process, abdicating their responsibility to Agassi’s for-profit hedge fund. Rocketship attempted to hire a local D.C. outreach coordinator, who quit shortly after taking the job. Rocketship was unable to replace him and seems to have lost track of the project. Preston Smith admitted to the Rocketship board that “during the process of approving this charter however, it became more apparent that we could do a stronger job in engaging the Washington D.C. community, especially the Anacostia neighborhood”.
Rocketship’s handling of growth in Washington D.C. may hint at future priorities. The fact that Rocketship had no boots on the ground during site selection is very surprising. It appears that Agassi’s corporation may be steering Rocketship’s growth. While placing a school next to a halfway house for returning felons might be a good deal for Agassi’s wealthy investors, it’s hard to imagine it making good education sense.