September 29, 2017 / Modified sep 29, 2017 12:21 p.m.

Public Schools Inc.: When Public Education Turns Into Big Business

Part I of an investigation into how Tucson's BASIS schools grew from a small charter into an international network.

BASIS finance illustration
Chiara Bautista, Arizona Daily Star

An Arizona Daily Star and Reveal investigation into BASIS schools by Star reporter Yoohyun Jung.

BASIS schools have been called “America’s best,” and “most challenging” by Newsweek and The Washington Post. What they sell — a highly rigorous public education — is undoubtedly alluring to parents who are dissatisfied with public schools.

The network had its start in Tucson as a single charter school. Arizona Daily Star reporter Yoohyun Jung spent months investigating how BASIS went from a small Tucson school to an international network of charter and private schools.

BASIS Lockers ONE TIME USE BASIS schools have been called “America’s best,” and “most challenging” by Newsweek and The Washington Post.
Mike Christy, Arizona Daily Star

Part I: Public schools, private rules

The story of BASIS as a school network is, ostensibly, one of success. However, its rapid growth from a small charter school in Tucson to an international conglomerate happened mostly behind closed doors, despite it being fueled largely by public funds and status as public schools.

Tune in to Arizona Spotlight next week for Part II: 'Best Schools,' For Some.

Yoohyun Jung produced this story as a Reveal Investigative Fellow. The fellowship, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Democracy Fund, provides journalists of color support and training to create investigative reporting projects in partnership with their news outlets.

To read the full investigation, visit the Arizona Daily Star or Reveal.   Contact the reporter at 573-4243 or On Twitter: @yoohyun_jung

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