In the slow, relatively small establishment of Redwood City, California, Rocketship Education was founded as a joint effort between Preston Smith and John Danner in 2007. Today, the system of public charter schools have expanded to a count of eighteen, with more than 20,000 students spread across its network. It has schools in the eastern United States, as far as the Washington DC area, back to its home state with 12, found as north as bordering the Great Lakes in Milwaukee, with several schools in the Southeast’s own Nashville.
Preston Smith, Rocketship Education’s co-founder and president of nearly five years, began his career as an educator in San Jose, a largely low-income area with a naturally low level of educational quality. He quickly found that many of the area’s families, especially those with the lowest incomes, were largely Hispanic, having emigrated to the great United States in recent years.
While there was no way for him to know if students’ family members were in America illegally or not, he safely assumed that many of them were there without formally registering. As such, when he developed Rocketship Education, he found that mandating each location to be “safe zones” in regard to deportation was great for bringing in young children of Mexican – although not exclusively Mexican – origin that otherwise wouldn’t find high educational attainment because their parents and guardians felt they could get arrested by sting operations at the schools their children attended. It’s also reasonable to assume that this characteristic of RSED would offer the opportunity of solid foundations of elementary education, although it’s impossible to tell.
Further, Rocketship Education’s eighteen locations are active in advocating public action in favor of immigration, especially in California in regards to Mexican immigration. One of the many ways that Preston Smith is helping parents take action is by hosting community meetings whose focus is on such immigration. Coupled with the fact that Rocketship’s facilities are safe havens for “illegal” families.
Another way RSED – Rocketship Education – is taking action for illegal immigrants whose students are enrolled is through offering bilingual immigrant rights resource cards at no charge.