Foundation to invest $25M in NO charter schools

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Texas-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation will invest $25 million to help create and expand high-performing charter schools in New Orleans.

The foundation focuses its investments across the country in the areas of education, criminal justice, public accountability and research integrity.

"The future of our country rests on our ability to educate our kids," Caprice Young, vice president of education at the Arnold Foundation, told The Advocate. "Everything stems from that."

In September, the private foundation invested an initial $15 million to support education reform in New Orleans, specifically aimed at developing talented local teachers and leaders, as well as engaging parents in their school selection.

The money went to Alliance for School Choice, Black Alliance for Educational Options, Leading Educators, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, New Schools for New Orleans, Partners for Developing Futures, Relay Graduate School of Education, Students for Education Reform, Teach for America-Greater New Orleans and teachNOLA/TNTP Academy.

The latest $25 million education-focused initiative will be managed through a partnership between the Charter School Growth Fund and New Schools for New Orleans.

The Growth Fund was selected because of its extensive experience leading high-quality schools, Young said.

Young said New Schools for New Orleans was chosen as an organization that "knows New Orleans well and can help us navigate and reach out to a broad sector in New Orleans."

Young said the money will be used both locally and nationally to help existing charter school operators expand and bring new national charter operators to the city.

New Orleans was chosen, Young said, because the city "has continued committed leadership to educational improvement, and there is so much momentum around the vision - we want to be a part of that."

New Orleans is at the top of the list for the foundation when looking at successes in reform that can be built upon, Young said.

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