Carol Burris: The Secrets of Arizona’s High-Performing Charter Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Carol Burris has been conducting an investigation of charter schools in many states, beginning with her series on California. In this post, she analyzes the remarkable test scores of certain high-performing charter schools in Arizona.

Public schools are supposed to learn from the “innovative” practices of charter schools. So, what can be learned from Arizona’s best charter schools?

1. Choose your students carefully.
2. Give preference to students who are white and Asian.
3. Avoid students with disabilities and students whose English is limited.
4. Minimize the number of children who live in poverty.
5. Make the demands so challenging that the weakest students leave.

The top charter schools in Arizona are the BASIS chain, founded by Michael and Olga Block. The first was founded in Tucson in 1998, followed by one in Scottsdale in 2003.

BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale became top-ranked schools on Newsweek’s “America’s Most Challenging High…

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