Scottsdale, Arizona is home to the best public high school in the nation, according to a new ranking by US News & World report.
BASIS Scottsdale is a 5th through 12th grade charter school with 754 students. It’s the first time the school has ranked No. 1 on the list.
Part of a larger network of charters — schools that are publicly funded but privately run — BASIS Scottsdale has a 100% graduation rate for students. It also places a high focus on college readiness, and requires students to take a minimum of eight Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The average number of AP exams per student is 11.5, and the average score is a 3.78 out of 5.
Ninety-six per cent of students at the school are white or Asian, a figure likely dismaying to public-school advocates.
It was one of the issues that Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, took aim at in an disparaging op-ed in The Washington Post.
“The proportional over-enrollment of Asian-American students and under-enrollment of Latino students in BASIS charter schools is startling,” she wrote in March.
Burris looked at the 16 BASIS charter schools in Arizona and noted that 32% of students during the 2015-16 school year were Asian. Statewide they only constitute 3% of the population. And while only 10% of student at the school are Latino, they constitute 45% of the population in the state.
Still, Burris agrees that the schools provide students with “a challenging education.”
That fact shines through on the US News’ list. Four of the top five schools are BASIS charter schools.
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