Carl C. Icahn founded and funds the Foundation for a Greater Opportunity. In 2000, together with the CEI-PEA, the foundation applied to SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute to open a charter elementary school in the South Bronx. By September 2001, the school was opened for grades K-2, serving 108 students. Since then a grade has been added every year and in 2008 a middle school building opened for grades 5 to 8. Today the school is called the Icahn Charter School 1.
It was discovered by the Tennessee Class-Size Study that small classes in early grades have long-term benefits. Thus the school program is based on this model. Once it was seen how much the students achieved, the program expanded through middle school. Today the foundation is using this success to open an additional three schools in the Bronx, known as Icahn 2, Icahn 3, and Icahn 4.
The reason Carl C. Icahn established this foundation was to “improve education in New York city.” His aim is to show how any child can learn, as long as they are in a “rigorous academic program,” i.e., given the right opportunities. Icahn firmly believes it is charter schools that are the route to improving education in the public sphere.
Sitting on the Icahn Charter Schools board are: educational, health and business leaders. Jeffrey Litt was hired in 2001 to become the first principal of the formerly named, Carl C. Icahn Charter school. Litt brings experience from being a principal of the New York City Board of Education. Today he is the Superintendent of all the Icahn Charter Schools.