by June Kronholz
January 24, 2014
While U.S. schools struggled to reach even an average score on a key international exam for 15-year-olds in 2012, BASIS Tucson North, an economically modest, ethnically diverse charter school in Arizona, outperformed every country in the world, and left even Shanghai, China’s academic gem in the dust. For all that, BASIS schools are open admission, operate on about two-thirds of the average funding per pupil of a traditional public school, have large class sizes, and use outmoded technology. The BASIS curriculum and its hard-charging, performance-incentivized teachers go a long way toward explaining the schools’ success. This article examines the schools' program and the possibility of BASIS providing a model for other U.S. charter schools.