BASIS Schools

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BASIS Charter Schools
7975 N Hayden Road, Suite C-240, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Type Education Management
Opened 1998
Grades K-12

BASIS Charter Schools is a network of tuition-free charter schools in the United States, with schools located primarily in Arizona, where it was founded in 1998. Their schools use a liberal arts curriculum with emphasis on STEM and Advanced Placement courses and exams.[1] BASIS Schools are a non-profit and are taxpayer-funded, though are managed by the for-profit BASIS Educational Group.[2] The schools have continually topped U.S. national school rankings put out by The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report, though they have also received criticism, most notably regarding their financial transparency and student attrition rates.[3]


The first BASIS charter school was founded in Tucson in 1998 by Michael Block, Ph.D. and Olga Block, Ph.D. with the goal of educating students at an internationally competitive level.

In 2003, BASIS Scottsdale was opened. In 2010 BASIS Oro Valley was founded. A year later, BASIS opened three schools at once in Chandler, Peoria, and Flagstaff.[4] 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. BASIS also began its primary (K-4) program at their BASIS Tucson site. In 2015, BASIS opened its 16th Arizona school in Goodyear, AZ.[5]

BASIS was featured in the documentary film 2 Million Minutes: A 21st Century Solution, which examined differences between the curriculum of charter schools in comparison with that of conventional public schools.[6] In response to the documentary, Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton visited BASIS' campus to deliver speeches on the importance of education in America.[7][8][9][10]

National Rankings[edit]

U.S. News & World Report - Best High School Rankings

2017 #1 BASIS Scottsdale: #1 Charter High School, #3 STEM High School

#2 BASIS Tucson North: #2 Charter High School, #5 STEM High School

#3 BASIS Oro Valley: #3 Charter High School, #47 STEM High School

#5 BASIS Peoria: #4 Charter High School

#7 BASIS Chandler: #5 Charter High School; #31 STEM High School

2016 #2 BASIS Scottsdale: #1 Charter School, #4 STEM school

#3 BASIS Tucson North: #2 Charter School, #6 STEM school

#6 BASIS Oro Valley: #3 Charter School

Bronze Medal - BASIS Chandler

2015 #2 BASIS Scottsdale, #3 STEM school, #1 Charter School

Bronze Medal - BASIS Oro Valley* and BASIS Tucson North**

* Not eligible for Gold or Silver Ranking. (Fewer than 15 graduates.)

** Not eligible for Gold or Silver Ranking. (12th grade students' AP scores not considered in new campus's ranking.)

2014 #2 BASIS Scottsdale, #15 STEM school, #1 charter school

#5 BASIS Tucson North, #3 STEM school, #3 charter school

2013 #2 BASIS Tucson

#5 BASIS Scottsdale

2012 #6 BASIS Tucson
2011 U.S. News did not perform ranking
2010 #9 BASIS Tucson
2009 #13 BASIS Tucson
2008 #16 BASIS Tucson

The Washington Post - America's Most Challenging High Schools

2016 #1 BASIS Oro Valley

#2 BASIS Flagstaff

#4 BASIS Tucson North

BASIS Chandler, BASIS Peoria, and BASIS Scottsdale are on the list of "Top-Performing Schools with Elite Students"

2015 #1 BASIS Oro Valley

#2 BASIS Chandler

#6 BASIS Tucson North

BASIS Scottsdale is on the list of "Top-Performing Schools with Elite Students"

2014 #10 BASIS Tucson North

BASIS Scottsdale is on the list of "Top-Performing Schools with Elite Students"

2013 BASIS Scottsdale and BASIS Tucson North are on the list of "Top-Performing Schools with Elite Students"
2012 #1 BASIS Tucson

#5 BASIS Scottsdale

2011 #4 BASIS Tucson

BASIS Charter School locations[edit]

BASIS Charter School Locations.jpg

There are currently manages 21 tuition-free public charter schools across Arizona, Texas, and Washington, D.C.



Washington, D.C.[edit]

School Accreditation[edit]

AdvancED is the parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). NCA, CASI, and SACS CASI are accreditation divisions of AdvancED. Dedicated to advancing excellence in education worldwide, AdvancED provides accreditation, research, and professional services to 27,000 public and private schools and 4,500 school districts in 30 states and 65 countries.


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 as it uses for-profit management company.[11] Another investigative article in 2010 questioned the founders' salary compared to the teachers and other public school administrators.[12]

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]


  1. ^ "About BASIS.ed". BASIS.ed. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Burris, Carol. "School choice a sham, profits on the taxpayers’ dime". Arizona Capitol Times. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Strauss, Valerie. "What the public isn’t told about high-performing charter schools in Arizona". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Basis applies to become K-12 school". Arizona Daily Sun, December 09, 2014 MICHELLE McMANIMON
  5. ^ "BASIS Schools - BASIS Schools". 
  6. ^ Cavanagh, Sean. "'Two Million Minutes,' in a Couple Paragraphs - Curriculum Matters - Education Week". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  7. ^ "blogs - School Grounds - Sharpton and Gingrich Visiting BASIS". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  8. ^ *
  9. ^ "BASIS Chandler ranks among world's best in international test". East Valley Tribune. 
  10. ^ "Early prep earns BASIS Scottsdale "best" AZ high school - Raising Arizona Kids Magazine". 
  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". Archived from the original on 2013-05-01. 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. 

External links[edit]