The Laura and John Arnold Foundation announced last week its latest investment in school reform in New Orleans. Following multi-million dollar investments in charter schools, school choice, and teacher recruitment, the foundation announced that that it will invest an additional $25 million to support an initiative to help create and expand high-performing charter schools in New Orleans. The funds are to be managed through New Schools for New Orleans and the Charter School Growth Fund. The initiative’s goal is within the next five years, to move 15,000 students attending low-performing schools in New Orleans to high performing charter schools.
I have made no secret about my position on high quality public charter schools; I favor them, and I favor legislation and legislative changes that allow for their creation and expansion. Charter school reform critics argue that investing in charter schools does not fix broken systems, and I do not disagree with them. But school reform happens one school at a time. So every high quality school that we create for children, whether a traditional public school or a charter school, contributes to the goal of reforming public education in the city of New Orleans. Every additional high quality public school that we create provides that many more opportunities for children currently attending low-performing schools to attend a high-quality school. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about reforming the public school systems that serve our most vulnerable children, but I will not apologize for supporting the creation and expansion of high quality public charter school options as well.