Houston Independent Schools Names America’s Top Performing School District
Houston Independent School District’s designation as America’s top performing school district and winner of the inaugural Broad Prize for Urban Education has been announced by Broad Foundation founder Eli Broad.
The Broad Prize for Urban Education is an annual $1 million award created by The Broad Foundation to honor urban school districts making the greatest overall improvement in student achievement while at the same time closing achievement gaps across ethnic groups and between high and low income students.
The $1 million cash award will fund scholarships for students to attend college or other post-secondary training. HISD will receive $500,000 in scholarships. Four finalists will each receive $125,000 in scholarships.
The finalists are: Atlanta Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, Garden Grove Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District.
The Broad Prize for Urban Education is designed to:
— Regain the American public’s confidence in public schools by spotlighting a district that is making significant gains in student achievement.
— Create an incentive to dramatically increase student achievement in our nation’s urban school districts.
— Reward public school systems that are successfully using creative, results-oriented approaches and techniques to better educate children.
In addition to the cash award, the winner and finalists will be showcased nationwide over the next year. The districts’ best instruction and management practices will be spotlighted so that other urban school systems can learn about and be inspired by their success.
The selection process that determined the finalists included an analysis of quantitative data (e.g. standardized test scores, attendance rates) and qualitative data (e.g. clear academic objectives, accountability systems) by a Review Board of prominent leaders in education.
A Selection Jury of national leaders from business, government, education and nonprofit sectors selected the winner. The Selection Jury includes: Lamar Alexander, Former US Secretary of Education; Henry Cisneros, Chairman and CEO of American City Vista; Phil Condit, Chairman and CEO of The Boeing Company; Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund; John Engler, Governor of Michigan; Richard D. Parsons, CEO of AOL Time Warner; Paul Patton, Governor of Kentucky and Chairman of the National Governors Association; Hugh Price, President and CEO of the National Urban League; Richard Riley, Former US Secretary of Education; and Andrew L. Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union.
The process to select the winner of The Broad Prize for Urban Education involved four steps:
(1) 108 US urban school districts were identified as eligible candidates. (A complete list is on the website at http://www.broadfoundation.org.)
(2) A Review Board comprised of 18 prominent education leaders from across the country — with the help of the National Center for Educational Accountability — analyzed extensive quantitative data and used their collective knowledge and experience to determine the finalists. (A complete list is on the website at http://www.broadfoundation.org.)
(3) A team of experienced researchers and practitioners conducted site visits to each finalist district to gather additional quantitative and qualitative data and met with the districts’ school board, superintendent and union leaders.
(4) The Selection Jury met to review the information collected on the site visits and information considered by the Review Board to select Houston Independent School District as the winner of the inaugural Broad Prize for Urban Education.