Broad Prize Doubles to $2 Million

After six years of increased national attention on Broad Prize school districts -- those urban school districts that have demonstrated the strongest growth in student achievement in America while narrowing achievement gaps between income and ethnic groups -- The Broad Prize for Urban Education has been doubled to $2 million by the board of governors of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, it was announced today. For the fourth time, the Long Beach Unified School District is one of five top finalists for the prize. Long Beach won the prize in 2003. The winner of the 2008 Broad Prize, to be announced in New York City on Oct. 14, will with this new increase now receive $1 million in college scholarships for graduating high school seniors. The four finalist school districts will each receive $250,000 in college scholarships, also twice as much as previously expected. Now viewed by many as the Nobel Prize of public education, The Broad Prize is the nation’s largest education award. When it was started in 2002, The Broad Prize was designed to spotlight success in urban public education, by identifying school districts that were making the most progress in raising academic achievement, particularly for low-income and minority students. The Prize was also intended to showcase the “best practices” of those school districts, with the hopes that other urban districts around the country would follow suit, and to create competition among districts to win the nation’s top education prize. “We are proud that in just six years, The Broad Prize has created a movement of reform and competition among America’s urban school districts,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “Our board has decided to double the prize winnings to benefit students in these districts. By doubling The Broad Prize – one of the only programs in the country that awards scholarships to students for grade improvement during high school – these students will now have twice as much support to pay for college.” Winning The Broad Prize has meant not only national attention and recognition for the most improved urban American school districts but also a boost to the morale of teachers, principals, students, parents and surrounding communities. Realtors in some of these cities have touted the win as a draw for prospective residents. Fulfilling one of the goals of The Broad Prize – to showcase the best practices – these winners have hosted numerous visitors to their districts, sharing what has worked to improve student achievement. For example, the Long Beach Unified School District has hosted visitors from as far away as Romania and Japan to learn from their successful practices. Since 2002, The Broad Foundation has awarded $6 million in Broad Prize scholarships to more than 730 students in winning and finalist districts. With the increase this year, graduating high school seniors in the winning and finalist school districts will be eligible to receive $20,000 scholarships if they attend a four-year university ($5,000 a year) or $5,000 scholarships if they attend a two-year college or technical training ($2,500 a year). Each year, 100 of the largest school districts in the country that serve a significant percentage of low-income and minority students are eligible for The Broad Prize – there is no application or nomination process. The five finalists are chosen by a review board of more than 15 education experts who review academic performance data collected and researched in-depth over the past year. The winner is then chosen by a jury of prominent individuals including former secretaries of education Rod Paige and Richard Riley, former governors John Engler of Michigan and Jim Hunt of North Carolina, and other leaders from business, education and public service. The jury reviews the performance data and reports from qualitative site visits. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation’s education work is focused on dramatically improving urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.