John Merrow raised this question in his PBS show about Rocketship charters.

I have not visited one of these schools so do not pass judgement on them. I can say without qualification that I would not want my grandchildren to attend a school where children spent two hours a day in front of a computer screen doing point and click. I have heard that these charters offer no art or music. I hope that’s not true. I will wait to hear from others.

But the key question here is: Is it possible to “mass produce” a high quality school.

My assumption here is that the goal is to cut costs by replacing teachers with computers and having a “system” that can be managed by inexperienced, low-cost teachers.

My answer is that the question is an oxymoron. Any school that is “mass produced” [i.e., teacher-proofed] cannot be high quality. Just as one cannot mass produce a string quartet, or mass produce great families, or great anything, one cannot mass produce a great school. A high quality school has a culture made up of its principal and teachers. They cannot be mass produced. Period.

John Merrow’s show last night was called: Profiling Rocketship Education

“Rocketship Education operates seven schools in San Jose, California that are among the top performing low income schools in the state. The dream was to eventually serve one million students. Although others have tried, nobody has successfully mass produced a high quality, cost effective school model. Will Rocketship be the first?”