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Arnold Foundation Backs Effort to Strengthen New Orleans Teaching

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A foundation has announced plans to award $15 million to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention in the greater New Orleans area and increase the flow of information to parents about how they can choose the best school for their children.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is providing grants to 10 organizations to work in the Recovery School District and other schools in the area. The spending is just the first step in what will be continued investment by the foundation over time, said Caprice Young, the philanthropy's vice president for education.

The organizations receiving the awards are the 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 of Greater New Orleans and teachNOLA/TNTP Academy.

Foundations have invested heavily in transforming struggling schools in the New Orleans area, which has become one of the most charter-school-rich areas in the nation. One of the Arnold Foundation's goals is to encourage more native Louisians to pursue careers in education, in the hope of generating a steady local supply of teachers. The grantees also will seek to "increase awareness of school options for parents, particularly among the high-poverty population that is served by New Orleans public schools."

"New Orleans has come a long way, but we must also recognize there is still work to be done, and we should continue to invest in excellent educators in order to truly impact the students of our city," Patrick Dobard, superintendent of the RSD, said in a statement.

The Arnold Foundation, based in Houston, was launched by John Arnold, who found enormous success in hedge funds, and his wife, Laura, in 2008. It invests in K-12 issues, as well as criminal justice and other areas.

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