American charter school network BASIS, which has grown over 15 years and influenced charter operators nationwide, will now be expanding into China.
BASIS was founded in 1999 with its first school in a Tucson, Arizona shopping mall, according to the BASISed website. Now it has schools, both public and private, across the country.
In September, BASIS will be opening a K-12 school in Shenzhen, China, which is along the southern edge of the mainland near Hong Kong. This will be the school’s first international campus. The location was chosen for its booming economy, and high demand, as the school expects to enroll 400 students upon opening.
According to education policy expert Tom Loveless, traditionally Chinese schools devote much of their time to rote memorization. He said:
After age 12, you’re spending all your time to take a test.
While Communist party schools have begun to draw on ideas from US business schools, American schools are still held in higher regard, writes Clifton B. Parker of Stanford News.
Many Chinese parents send their children to school in America, writes T. Rees Shapiro of the Washington Post, but with the new BASIS school, they will be able to get a quality education in their own country.
Shaun Rein, author and founder of the China Market Research Group, said that Chinese education consumers want to martial all their efforts toward the best possible outcome:
Chinese families put so much emphasis on education, and for the most part only have one child and spend much of their disposable income on education. With so much competition and so few good opportunities, people really spend as much as they can on education and enrichment for their children because they are so worried about their futures.
The practices at BASIS are inspired by European and Asian classrooms with lessons that get progressively more challenging. On the Washington Post’s list of Most Challenging High Schools, BASIS took the top two places and had another in the top six. Its charter school in Washington DC was rated Tier 1 in 2014, which is the highest level. 85% of its middle school students scored at proficient or advanced levels on reading exams with 81% scoring the same on math exams.
Mark Reford, the Vice Chairman of the BASIS Independent Schools, said that the BASIS model is ready for deployment now that it has matured:
When American education is good, American education is the best in the world. What we want to create is this new kind of education network that is globally offering the best of American education around the world and really preparing kids for the global culture of international life.
They will be doing the exact same curriculum as they do in American schools. What BASIS offers is an American education at its finest, a fusion of intellectual depth with creativity. That’s what people want.
Tuition at the Shenzhen school will be equivalent to $25,258 for a year of Kindergarten and $30,468 for high school.