BASIS Schools

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BASIS Schools, Inc. is an Arizona charter school operator. BSI operates a total of thirteen schools in Arizona. BDC Schools, Inc., operates one school in the District of Columbia, and BTX Schools, Inc., operates two in San Antonio, Texas.

Phoenix area[edit]

  • BASIS Chandler
  • BASIS Peoria
  • BASIS Phoenix
  • BASIS Phoenix Central
  • BASIS Scottsdale
  • BASIS Ahwatukee
  • BASIS Mesa

Tucson area[edit]

  • BASIS Tucson K-6
  • BASIS Tucson North 6-12
  • BASIS Oro Valley 5-12
  • BASIS Oro Valley Primary K-4

Northern Arizona[edit]

  • BASIS Flagstaff
  • BASIS Prescott


  • BASIS San Antonio[1]
  • BASIS San Antonio North[2]


  • BASIS Washington, D.C.[3]

Independent Schools[edit]


The first BASIS charter school was founded in Tucson in 1998 by Dr. Michael and Olga Block. Their intent was to open a school that would educate students at an internationally competitive level, with BASIS students ready to compete with their top performing peers in the world's top school systems, like China, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland. In 2003 BASIS Scottsdale was born. After just one year, BASIS Scottsdale students scored among the highest in Arizona. In 2010 BASIS Oro Valley was founded. A year later, BASIS opened three schools at once in Chandler, Peoria,and Flagstaff. BASIS continued its expansion by opening another school in Tucson and one in Phoenix proper in fall 2012, along with their first non-Arizona school located in Washington, D.C. In 2013, BASIS opened their tenth and eleventh Arizona campuses in Ahwatukee and Mesa, and the second non-Arizona campus was added in San Antonio, Texas. The most recent BASIS campuses, Prescott, Phoenix Central and Oro Valley Primary, opened in the fall of 2014.


BASIS Educational Group built and manages the BASIS model and utilizes the same BASIS Culture and BASIS.ed Curriculum in classrooms across all campuses. The majority of BASIS teachers have a Masters or PhD within their chosen fields. The BASIS Primary School academic program includes humanities, math, science, Mandarin, art, music, drama, and physical education. They also participate in "Connections", which brings all their studies together. The Primary School program also offers a unique approach to instruction. There are two professional teachers with the children at any given time--a Learning Expert Teacher and a Subject Expert Teacher. The Lower School program, which serves grades 5-7, prepares students for the Upper School program and college level achievements. The Upper School, which serves grades 8-12, offers an accelerated science and liberal arts program. The Upper School is AP-based, meaning all students are required to take AP courses and exams as part of the core curriculum. In 12th grade, students are able to enroll in Capstone courses and to complete a Senior Project.

Praise and media attention[edit]

[unbalanced opinion]

BASIS Schools have been noted for their performance on standardized tests such as AP, IGCSE Exams, and the AIMS.[4] 100% of BASIS graduates attend four-year universities upon receiving their BASIS diploma[5] and almost one-fourth of BASIS graduates are selected as National Merit Scholars.[6][unbalanced opinion]

BASIS consistently ranks among the best in the nation. Newsweek has ranked BASIS one of America's top ten schools every year since 2006. BASIS was also ranked 4th in the nation by the Washington Post in 2011 and 2nd in the nation for math and science by U.S. News & World Report.[disputed ] [7] In 2013 as well as 2014, U.S. News & World Report rated both BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale (the only two BASIS schools open long enough to be eligible for rankings) as two of the top five schools in the nation.[8]

BASIS was also featured in the documentary film 2 Million Minutes: A 21st Century Solution. The film contrasts the school's accelerated curriculum

with the typical public school model.[neutrality is disputed] [9] In the wake of the documentary's success, Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton visited BASIS' campus to deliver speeches on the importance of education in America.[10]

Criticisms and controversies[edit]

Both BASIS schools and their parent organization have been the subject of criticism and controversy. Critics contend that BASIS is failing to provide adequate financial transparency and accountability and is in fact actively creating financial opacity by funneling its tax dollars through a for-profit management company not subject to financial disclosure requirements.[11] Another investigative article in 2010 questioned the founders' salary compared to the teachers and other public school administrators.[12][neutrality is disputed]

Other critics take issue with BASIS's accelerated curriculum and general educational philosophy. Some argue that BASIS focuses too much on standardized testing.[13] Critics also point out that BASIS's performance in national ranking systems like the U.S. News & World Report is largely a function of BASIS's singular focus on mandatory AP testing, as these ranking systems give great weight to the percentage of students at a school that take AP tests.[14] Critics also take issue with BASIS's attrition rates (senior classes are typically a third to a quarter of the size of the fifth grade class) and argue that BASIS achieves good test scores in part by weeding out underperforming students.[15][16][17] In 2013, the D.C. Charter School Board rejected a request from BASIS DC to expand, citing concerns about the high number of students who had withdrawn from the school since it opened.[18]

Board of Directors[edit]

As of 2013, the organization had a seven person board:[19]

  • Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel
  • Michael Block, BASIS co-founder
  • Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation
  • Don Budinger, founder of Rodel Inc.
  • John Morton, former president of the Arizona Council on Economic Education
  • Terry Sarvas, accountant and member of the Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Steve Twist, law professor and founder of the Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research


  1. ^ BASIS San Antonio
  2. ^ BASIS San Antonio North
  3. ^ BASIS Washington, D.C.
  4. ^ "AIMS test score". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  5. ^ ,"What Makes BASIS Schools Different". 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  6. ^ "Charter Network's Serious Curriculum Engages Students, Teachers". 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  7. ^ "National rankings". 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  8. ^ "Best High School Rankings". 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  9. ^ Cavanagh, Sean. "'Two Million Minutes,' in a Couple Paragraphs - Curriculum Matters - Education Week". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  10. ^ "blogs - School Grounds - Sharpton and Gingrich Visiting BASIS". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  11. ^ "Charter transparency". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  12. ^ "Basis School Execs Salaries Rose Fast". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  13. ^ "13 Ways High-Stakes Standardized Tests Hurt Students". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  14. ^ "US News "Best Schools" Ranking System". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  15. ^ "conservatives on BASIS print the legend". Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  16. ^ "BASIS and University High are Top U.S. High Schools, which means...?". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  17. ^ "Success by Attrition". Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  18. ^ "DC charter board rejects request from BASIS to expand". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  19. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 

External links[edit]