Recently, Preston Smith, who is the co–founder and the CEO of Rocketship Education documented an article about the education conditions for children in San Jose. Smith reports on a study conducted by the University of California and Harvard University in 2014. It was established that children born in San Jose in the 1980s and those from low-income families could still prosper as the other kids from Denmark and Canada.
According to Smith, today in San Jose, the gap between the poor and the rich has widened with high housing prices, no jobs, and there is a clear line between the wealthy and the have-nots. This condition further threatens the lives of the poor. However, Smith has high hopes that this situation in San Jose can be rectified through working together to strengthen public education system. He acknowledges that he has worked in San Jose as an educator for over 15 years and witnessed how the poor continue to get stuck in poverty. He has also seen some of his students excelling and proceeding to colleges.
The Rocketship Education which was founded by Smith is a not for profit network of the elementary public charter schools. It serves low-income students by enabling them to access good schools and transforming the poor public schools. Rocketship also empowers teachers and parents as well as inspiring the entire community.
According to Smith, San Jose’s low-income children are now benefiting from Rocketship Education that has created a good education environment for quality public schools. Those that are learning English language with the aim of making it to college are also beneficiaries of this initiative. The first school supported by Rocketship was launched in 2007. Since then, 25 more high schools that have a public charter to serve low-income communities have been developed.
Smith also reports that The Center for Research on Education Outcomes based at Stanford University conducted a study that reported that those that are learning English and those that are in poverty in San Jose get an additional learning in reading and Mathematics. More schools have also started partnering with charter schools with the aim of improving students’ achievements and preparing them for college.
The Rocketship Education charter schools are supported by business leaders including Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook among others. Netflix donated $100 million to support local education while Zuckerberg and his wife committed some of their wealth to education and technology. Facebook’s engineers are also helping Rocketship to build a learning platform and share with other schools in the country.