Gates Foundation and others give $17.5 M to New Orleans schools

Gates Foundation and others give $17.5 M to New Orleans schools
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates address a forum of 300 malaria scientists and policy makers Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, in Seattle.
SEATTLE (AP) - Three charitable foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are donating a combined $17.5 mullion to help revive New Orleans schools still ailing more than two years after Hurricane Katrina.

The money, from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, of Los Angeles, the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, of San Francisco, and the Gates Foundation, of Seattle, will support the creation of new public charter schools, and will pay for teacher and principal recruitment and training.

New Schools for New Orleans will get $10 million to recruit teachers, start schools and advocate for school improvement and accountability. Teach for America will get $6.5 million to recruit and train new teachers from a nationwide corps of recent college graduates and young professionals.

New Leaders for New Schools will get $1 million for principal training and support. The Gates Foundation and the Fisher Fund previously announced grants totaling more than $3 million to the organization.

"These announcement provide a huge boost for the children of New Orleans and reflect a growing, long-term national commitment to education in this city," said Jon Schnur, founder of New Leaders for New Schools. "New Orleans schools are open for business and ready to outstanding teachers and leaders to join forces to ensure that quality schools are the leading edge of revitalization of the city and region."

New Leaders for New Schools has already received nearly 200 applications for its first seven principal-in-training positions. The organization hopes to recruit 40 new principals within the next three years.

Public schools in Orleans Parish, which includes the city of New Orleans, already had low test scores and high dropout rates before Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. The three nonprofit organizations benefiting from these grants have already helped to recruit and train more than 200 new teachers for New Orleans schools.