BASIS, an Arizona charter chain known for its intense academic standards, plans to open five charter schools in Louisiana. BASIS expects all students to complete AP courses and work very hard to reach its high standards. It accepts everyone, but loses large numbers of students who can’t keep up with the school’s academic pressure.


BASIS is ranked high on lists of “the best schools,” because it gets top test scores after booting most of its students.


This is so far from the original conception of charter schools in the late 1980s. They were promoted by Albert Shanker, the president of the AFT, as schools that would recruit the lowest performing, least motivated students and develop innovative ways of reconnecting them with school. They would share whatever they learned with the public schools. They were intended not to compete but to help public schools by discovering better ways to help the reluctant learners.


BASIS, by contrast, is an exceptionally competitive school that appeals to high performing students and drops the reluctant learners.


Here is what Louisiana will get: This. This. And this.


Keep the best, get rid of the rest.