Rocketship applying for DC, but not Washington state (yet)

There are many successful charter schools operating across the country, but relatively few charter networks that are expanding in their region, let alone jumping across the country to open campuses in a different state. San Antonio is fortunate to have the Choose to Succeed movement, which has identified expanding charter networks, including Rocketship Education, and is working to bring them here. (Here is my earlier post about charter network expansion.)

Rocketship recently applied to District of Columbia Public Schools for a charter to open eight elementary schools. “More details on three charter-school chains seeking approval to operate in the District”, Emma Brown, DC Schools Insider blog (Washington Post), November 20, 2012; “Three charter school operators apply to open doors in the District”, Emma Brown, DC Schools Insider blog (Washington Post), November 19, 2012.

Washington state voters recently approved a charter school law, but Rocketship is not planning to apply there right away. “As charter schools get going here, best-known charter chains may stay away”, Linda Shaw, Seattle Times, November 24, 2012.

Rocketship Education, one of the hottest new chains out of California, says it will watch what happens before it decides whether to apply.

“I’m not sure we want to be first,” said Kristoffer Haines, vice president of national expansion. . . .

The law’s limit of 40 charters may also be an issue.

Rocketship, for example, wants to have at least eight schools in any area where it operates. Given the cap, Haines said that might be more than Washington would want from any one group.

Among other national charter networks, KIPP and YES Prep (both from Houston) are waiting, but Green Dot Public Schools (from Los Angeles) is seriously considering applying for a Washington state charter.

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