A $6.5 million grant from the Broad Foundation will be used to establish nine new high schools and four middle schools serving eight thousand students over the next four years; the grant increases the foundation's support of Los Angeles charter schools to $36 million. In addition, the alliance announced contributions of $3.5 million from its board members to support charter school expansion. The new schools will be located in Southland counties with the most crowded and underperforming public schools. "With soaring dropout rates and a failure to provide students with the skills they need to succeed in college, in work, and in life, our country's education system is not working," said Eli Broad. "However, the models of success — and certainly the brightest hope for students in Los Angeles — are high-performing charter school organizations like the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools."
The alliance's seven existing charter schools serve eighteen hundred students in the Los Angeles Unified School district. Alliance schools offer students rigorous college-preparatory coursework in smaller-sized classes over a longer school year and provide individual tutoring and after-school classes where necessary. All seven schools outperformed nearby public schools in the 2006 Academic Performance Index, and 90 percent of their graduates are expected to attend two- or four-year colleges.
According to alliance board chair and former California secretary of education Richard Riordan, the grants mark a turning point for education in the state. "When business and philanthropy step forward to focus their resources, it is a testament to a simple fact: charters work," he said. "We must always remember that charter schools are public schools, but they put children first."