The BASIS Story

Our Founders

BASIS charter schools began as a visionary venture in 1998 when world-class economists Dr. Michael and Olga Block found that students who were educated outside the United States were not only more prepared for the challenges of college than their American counterparts, but were also simply "better" students. Digging further, they found that low expectations among American students led to a lack of curricular substance in U.S. classrooms. Thus, the BASIS.ed revolution was born.

After opening the first BASIS charter school in Tucson, Arizona, the Blocks soon discovered that every child can become a great student when presented with a rigorous course of study taught by Subject Expert Teachers and supported by a culture of excellence. What started as a single campus has grown into a unique, high-achieving, and unprecedented network of 21 charter schools across Arizona, Texas, and Washington, D.C., as well as four independent schools in Brooklyn, Silicon Valley, McLean, Fremont, and an international school in Shenzhen, China.

Today, BASIS.ed has propelled its schools to become among the top ranked, both nationally and on a global scale, as noted in Amanda Ripley's book "The Smartest Kids in the World (and How They Got That Way)".

Photo: Michael Block
Photo: Olga Block

At the core of Michael and Olga Block's educational vision is a belief that the goal of a great education is to provide students with choices; with unbounded opportunities; to send them to college and into their professional lives empowered by the broad and deep content knowledge and critical thinking skills that will enable them to craft their own futures.

From the beginning, the BASIS.ed vision has been more ambitious than opening the best school in Tucson or Scottsdale or even all of Arizona. It is to build a network of the finest schools in the world that represent America at its best; to create a preschool through 12th grade program of creativity, innovation and rigorous experimentation and problem-solving that are the signature of such legendary intellectual communities as Bell Labs and the NASA Apollo program.

While each type of school offers programs and facilities appropriate to the communities served, at the core of this dynamic network is a common mission: BASIS.ed is redefining education and leading the U.S. and the world in producing breathtaking learning results. The promise of this vision is that expert, passionate teachers will inspire their students to fall in love with learning; with the satisfaction to be gained from hard work; with the joy of intellectual and creative effort, and with the acceptance of struggle and failure as an inevitable part of a productive and stimulating life.

BASIS.ed manages some of the best schools in the world and we are working hard to ensure that more and more students will have access to the opportunity and choices we open for them.