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BASIS uncovered

"BASIS uncovered" Continued...

Issue: "Do the math," Nov. 7, 2009

Zimprich also disputes the intellectual elitism charge, pointing out that at a typical BASIS end-of-term awards ceremony, over half the class has a greater than 90 percent average: "If it was just smart kids, you wouldn't have that many A students because being smart doesn't preclude you from being lazy. . . . You get that kind of result with a program that teaches kids to work hard."

However, what bothers Block more than criticism from his fellow education professionals is indifference. He says he has tried to contract with various state districts to use their vacant buildings to implement BASIS classes, and so far no one has expressed an interest.

"This is one of the world's great schools, and in its 11-year history it's only had one visit from a TUSD teacher," he says. "We've never had a visit from an administrator, though they all have their pet theories on why our results can't be reproduced. So they don't spend any time criticizing us because they don't think we're relevant no matter how much evidence we offer that we're not just a school for brainiacs. It's not in their interest to believe us because we are proof that you can do a lot better than they're doing."

Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Memphis, Tenn.. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.

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