Two BASIS schools in Arizona were ranked among the top 10 high schools in the country this week by U.S. News & World Report.

The 2013 rankings put BASIS Tucson at No. 2 in the country and BASIS Scottsdale at No. 5.

Gilbert Classical Academy, part of the Gilbert Unified School District, earned the No. 28 spot nationally, and was ranked third behind the two BASIS campuses in the Arizona rankings.

Thousands of schools were examined to compile the list, according to the publication.

Both BASIS schools are public charter schools that do not require application or testing for enrollment. Gilbert Classical Academy, like the BASIS Schools, is open to all students and does not require an application or testing for admission.

BASIS originally started in Tucson and has grown throughout Arizona. The performance of BASIS Scottsdale's first graduating class last year put it on the national publication's list for the first time. BASIS Tucson climbed from No. 6 to No. 2 this year.

BASIS Chandler opened two years ago, becoming the first East Valley campus for the nationally acclaimed charter program. BASIS Ahwatukee and BASIS Mesa will open in the fall.

BASIS opened a school in Washington D.C. this year, the first outside of Arizona, and a Texas campus will open in the fall.

No other East Valley school made the top 100 national rankings. Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, which has a sister campus in Ahwatukee, was ranked No. 53 in the U.S.

For the entire list, see

(5) comments

AZ Guy

Thanks Chuckles3,
I mean no disrespect to BASIS and I am not promoting the victim mentality and by the way, my kids went to private school, but I know kids who have gone BASIS. I apologize if my information is incorrect. There are many swings of the pendulum and replacing disadvantaged children's educational model with a BASIS model, is not what I am concerned about. I am concerned that decision makers confuse difficulty with excellence. I have seen too many examples in schools of all flavors where the math program is made difficult and incomprehensible. Many of the kids that pass resort to disreputable approaches. I appreciate your zeal and concern for the US, but we are still the US despite our shortcomings in quantitative analysis. What we need is learning, and learning to enjoy learning, not just achieving the completion of the class.


BASIS Chandler is 65% Asian according to the ADE October 1st enrollment report; 24% Caucasian. BASIS Tucson is 17% Asian and 52% Caucasian. BASIS Scottsdale is 43% Asian and 51% Caucasian. Now, BASIS does wonderful work with these students and I am not a proponent of abolishing these school choice options. But, if politicians believe that policies that establish these types of institutions are viable solutions to closing the educational achievement gap for educationally disadvantaged students they are mistaken. The scalability of these programs is limited. BASIS knows this and that is why they have set up shop in Oro Valley, Scottsdale, Chandler, Ahwatukee and the Sunrise Mountain area of Peoria. Even BASIS Tucson is located close enough to draw the children of university professors. I am certain that the area where BASIS Tucson is located is not 70% Asian and Caucasian. In fact, it is probably closer to 70% Hispanic. I appreciate the work that BASIS does with these students but if this is the way the United States wants to take education then we just as well do a massive overhaul and transition to Germany: Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium. But, this style system would be counter to our whole ideal of the American dream when you are getting filtered into your future societal class at the age of 11. So, instead we are designing a much more deceptive system where those who understand the system benefit their own children and those who do not fall quickly asleep with no dream. Once again, BASIS does a great job but they are not the solution to closing the gap between the 1% and the other 99%. BASIS is not the solution to poverty in America. But, then again I am assuming that education policy strives to create equity. That assumption is probably a far stretch.

Mike McClellan

A. What is the retention rate at BASIS schools, particularly at the 9th grade?

B. If you read the U.S. News. Report, you find that almost all of the top schools have two features:

The schools are very small
The student to teacher ratio is even smaller.

With a handful of exceptions, the top schools are well under 1,000 students and have a student teacher ratio of less than 17:1.


AZ Guy, sorry you are misinformed like most that diss the BASIS model. There are sports, theatre, music, dances, etc. at my kids BASIS. Is it academically oriented? Obviously. BASIS is not for everyone. There are other options, but don't hate it for its success. They are trying to compete with the rest of the world educationally while public schools fall farther behind teaching "diversity" and "tolerance" and how not to be a bully....

"Difficult to translate is the regular world?" Um, ok. Is your regular world full of low achieving, government dependent folks? The record number of people on disability and 'not participating' in the workforce? People looking for handouts? Then yes, it would be foreign to those types.

My regular world if full of people taught to work hard and take responsibility for their own success, not victims and whiners. But as I saw in the last election, I am now in a minority.

AZ Guy

Basis Schools headed up by former CEO of Intel Craig Barrett are doing very well at Vertical Learning. Most classes are AP Level classes. There is no recess, no music, no extracurricular except for pretty good projects that occur outside of the normal school calendar. These schools are ok for some kids, but the model doesn't work for everyone. We need to remember that creativity and business and communication skills are extremely important assets of people that go through our educational system and live in the US culture. This school is like a school for weightlifters. If you go in and are good at lifting weights you can do well, but if you are not so good at lifting weights you will be crushed because everyone is expected to do the same academic "lifting". The best school takes a kid as far as it can and makes them who they can be, it doesn't herd kids together that already perform well and push them into a vertical learning euphoria. Looks good on paper and in the lab, but difficult to translate in the regular world.[unsure]

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