BASIS runs 25 charter schools, and there are always a few BASIS charter schools listed among the top public schools in the U.S. These are free public schools with no admissions requirements. They admit students by lottery. But in addition to the public charter schools there are a small handful of private BASIS schools that charge $25,000 or more in tuition.

For Business Insider, Melia Robinson spent a day at the private school BASIS runs in Silicon Valley, taking photos and talking with students and teachers. Most of the students Robinson talks with are children of immigrants who work in tech and who want their children to get good jobs in tech.

For more on BASIS charter schools, read June Kronholz’s feature story, “High Scores at BASIS Charter Schools” in the Winter 2014 issue of EdNext. She wrote

BASIS schools are open admission. They operate on a shoestring budget: the Arizona schools operate on about two-thirds of the average funding for a child in a traditional public school. Classes are large: up to 30 students in middle school. Technology is “akin to cuneiform tablets,” Scottsdale’s head of school, Hadley Ruggles, told me.

The BASIS curriculum and its hard-charging teachers go a long way toward explaining the schools’ success. Fifth graders take Latin and can expect 90 minutes a day of homework. Middle schoolers have nine hours a week of biology, chemistry, and physics. Algebra starts in 6th grade; AP calculus is a graduation requirement. The English curriculum separates literature and language, or critical thought; high schoolers take both. There are year-end comprehensives; fail even one and it means repeating the grade.

Richard Whitmire wrote about the role BASIS schools were playing in attracting suburban families to charter schools in “More Middle-Class Families Choose Charters” in the Summer 2015 issue of EdNext

— Education Next

Last updated February 6, 2018