The Arizona Republic

Ariz. Basis high schools lead ranking


- Ricardo Cano Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK

The nation’s top five public high schools have two things in common: They’re all in Arizona and they’re all part of the Basis charter network.

Arizona high schools made up onethird of the top 30 schools in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings released Wednesday. The rankings include nearly 6,000 high schools across the nation.

All of the ranking Arizona schools, both district and charter, specialize in college preparedne­ss and are known for their rigorous curricula.

Basis Scottsdale was the nation’s top-performing high school for the second year in a row. Basis Chandler, Basis Oro Valley, Basis Tucson North and Basis Flagstaff rounded up the top five schools in the report.

Five more Arizona schools also were nationally ranked in the top 30, including schools in the Gilbert, Tucson and Tolleson Union school districts.

In a statement, the Basis charter school network’s leaders said their schools’ rankings were a testament to their students and teachers.

“We’re always gratified by rankings like this, it never gets old,” Peter Bezanson, CEO of Basis.ed, said in a statement. “But these (rankings), in 2018, are beyond expectatio­n, an extraordin­ary achievemen­t for public charter schools.

“Every student, every teacher, every parent, and every staff member — not just at the ranked schools, but across our network — should feel quite proud, deservingl­y proud. It validates what we have dedicated our profession­al lives to do.”

Schools consider the annual rankings a prestigiou­s honor — and powerful marketing tools in Arizona’s school-choice landscape. Critics have

said the ranking’s focus is too narrow.

According to U.S. News, the rankings consider the percentage of students who exceed state standards, graduation rates and college-readiness performanc­e data, such as Advanced Placement and Internatio­nal Baccalaure­ate test results.

Basis is one of Arizona’s largest charter-school networks and its schools consistent­ly rank at the top of the U.S. News annual rankings. The average student who graduates from Basis schools passes nearly 11 AP exams.

The Arizona Basis charter schools are publicly funded, privately managed schools open to any family, tuition-free.

Basis schools have faced criticism for years over accessibil­ity. Some critics have said the schools’ high-performanc­e expectatio­ns for students and investment expectatio­ns of parents creates barriers for many public school students to attend the schools.

A recent report by

found that although Basis receives more in basic per-pupil state funding than traditiona­l public schools, its teachers’ salaries, on average, are thousands of dollars less than those of traditiona­l public-school teachers.

found the charter network subsidizes its teacher salaries by asking parents to make donations. Topranked Basis Scottsdale, for instance, asks parents donate at least $1,500 per student each year.

Top 20 Arizona high schools

❚ Basis Scottsdale (Nationally ranked No. 1).

❚ ❚ ❚ Basis Tucson North (No. 4). ❚ ❚

Basis Chandler (No. 2). Basis Oro Valley (No. 3). Basis Flagstaff (No. 5). Basis Peoria (No. 8). ❚ Basis Phoenix (No. 14).

❚ Gilbert Classical Academy High School (No. 20).

❚ University High School in Tucson (No. 27).

❚ University High School in Tolleson (No. 29).

❚ Arizona College Prep — Erie Campus (No. 240).

❚ Northland Preparator­y Academy (No. 263).

❚ Paragon Science Academy (No. 547). ❚ Arizona School for the Arts (No. 593).

❚ Catalina Foothills High School (No. 670).

❚ Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (No. 978).

❚ Hamilton High School (#1,068). ❚ Chaparral High School (No. 1,204).

❚ Desert Mountain High School (No. 1,311).

❚ Sedona Red Rock High School (No. 1,348).

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 ??  ?? Chemistry teacher Lauren Cooney (center) works with Michelle Koo (left) on April 25, 2017, in their classroom at Basis Scottsdale at 10400 N. 128th St.
Chemistry teacher Lauren Cooney (center) works with Michelle Koo (left) on April 25, 2017, in their classroom at Basis Scottsdale at 10400 N. 128th St.

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