LOS ANGELES, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today the four finalists for the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education, a $1 million award given annually to the four urban school districts in America that have made the greatest improvement in student achievement, particularly among low-income and minority students.
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This year's four finalists are:
-- Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif. -- Cumberland County Schools, N.C. -- Houston Independent School District -- San Diego Unified School District
The Broad (rhymes with "road") Prize for Urban Education is an annual $1 million award--the largest education prize in the country--that honors urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students.
The winner of the 2013 Broad Prize will be announced on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress. The winning district will receive $550,000 in scholarships for its students, and the three finalist districts will each receive $150,000 in college scholarships for graduating high school seniors, for a total distribution of $1 million.
"We recognize these four districts for the progress they have made in improving student achievement," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which awards The Broad Prize. "But even while these finalist districts are moving in the right direction, there is still a long road ahead before we can truly celebrate high levels of academic success. And as we look at other urban districts across the country, there is significantly more progress that needs to be made."
Seventy-five of the nation's largest urban school districts were automatically eligible and considered for The Broad Prize. School districts cannot apply or be nominated.
This year's finalists rose to the top of urban school systems by producing better relative Hispanic, African-American and low-income student gains. For example:
-- All finalists made progress narrowing achievement gaps between their Hispanic and African-American students and their white students--and between their Hispanic and African-American students and their respective states' white students. -- The four finalist districts outperformed peer districts in their respective states that serve similar percentages of low-income students in at least seven of nine comparisons (elementary, middle and high school reading, math and science).
This year's four finalists were selected by a review board of 17 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, civil rights advocacy organizations, think-tanks and foundations. The review board evaluated publicly available academic achievement data that were compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm.
In selecting the finalists, the review board looks for urban school districts that show the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students. Among the data they consider are SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement participation rates and outcomes, graduation rates, state assessments in reading, math and science, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, student demographics including poverty, state test rigor, per pupil expenditures and district size. The Broad Foundation does not play a role in selecting the finalists or the winner.
Two of this year's finalists are first-time finalists: Cumberland County Schools, N.C. and the San Diego Unified School District. The Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif., and the Houston Independent School District were both finalists in 2012. Houston won the inaugural Broad Prize in 2002.
Previous Broad Prize winners have been Miami-Dade County Public Schools (2012), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C. (2011), Gwinnett County Public Schools outside Atlanta (2010), the Aldine Independent School District near Houston (2009), the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas (2008), the New York City Department of Education (2007), Boston Public Schools (2006), Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia (2005), the Garden Grove Unified School District in California (2004), the Long Beach Unified School District in California (2003), and the Houston Independent School District (2002).
Over the next two months, teams of educational researchers and practitioners led by the education consulting company RMC Research Corporation will conduct a four-day site visit in each finalist district using a research-based rubric for district quality to gather qualitative information, interview district administrators, conduct focus groups with teachers and principals and observe classrooms. The teams will also interview parents, community leaders, school board members and union representatives. A selection jury of prominent individuals from business, industry, education and public service will then choose the winning school district after reviewing both the student achievement data and the qualitative site visit reports.
For more information about The Broad Prize, this year's finalists, the review board and selection jury, please visit http://www.broadprize.org/. Previous Broad Prize data analyses are publicly available at www.broadprize.org/resources/75_districts.html, which will be updated this fall with the 2013 analyses.
Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is http://www.broadeducation.org/, and updates are available on Twitter @broadfoundation. Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090402/DC93389LOGOThe Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Web site: http://www.broadeducation.org/