The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has announced that it is investing $25 million in an initiative to help create and expand high-performing charter schools in New Orleans.
To be managed through a partnership between New Schools for New Orleans and the Charter School Growth Fund, the initiative aims, over the next five years, to give fifteen thousand students currently attending low-performing schools in New Orleans the opportunity to attend a high-quality charter school. To that end, NSNO will work to expand existing high-performing charter schools in the city, while CSGF will review applications from charter management networks with proven records that serve low-income students and are seeking to expand into New Orleans.
The foundation's $25 million investment follows on the heels of $15 million in grants it awarded in September to ten organizations working to support charter schools, school choice, and teacher recruitment in New Orleans. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, while 83 percent of New Orleans schools were failing in 2005, the committed efforts of educators, parents, students, foundations, and the local community has helped reduce that figure by nearly 40 percent. Nevertheless, approximately sixteen thousand students remain in schools that fail to meet the state's minimum academic performance benchmark.
"High-quality public charter schools have changed the landscape of public education in New Orleans," said New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We've made tremendous gains over the last few years, and this investment will help us build on that momentum and support our city's public education system. With support from organizations like the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, we have the opportunity to open doors of opportunity for even more students and ensure that our children get the excellent education they deserve."