NEW YORK- The Houston Independent School District has won $150,000 in college scholarships for its high school seniors as a finalist for the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad and retired Adm. Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, at The Museum of Modern Art to announce that the 2012 Broad Prize winner--which was selected by a bipartisan jury of 11 prominent leaders from government, education, business and public service, including two former U.S. secretaries of education--is Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
The $1 million Broad (rhymes with "road") Prize is an annual award that honors the four large urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest student achievement and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income and minority students. The 75 largest urban school districts in America are automatically eligible for the award each year.
As a finalist for the award, the Houston Independent School District will receive $150,000 in college scholarships for its high school seniors. The other two finalist districts--the Corona Unified School District in Southern California and The School District of Palm Beach County, Fla.--will each also receive $150,000 in scholarships.
"Teachers, parents, principals and administrators, truly everyone involved in Houston ISD's success deserves to be applauded today," said Eli Broad, founder of The Broad Foundation, which sponsors the award. "The progress you have made--helping students of all backgrounds reach advanced academic levels, narrowing achievement gaps and engaging parents and teachers in reform efforts--is what nearly every other large urban school system nationwide is striving to do."
Houston won the inaugural Broad Prize in 2002, and this marks its first return as a finalist since then. Miami-Dade's win comes the fifth time the district was named a finalist for The Broad Prize.
The seventh-largest school district in the nation, Houston ISD has more than 200,000 students--80 percent of whom are low-income and nearly 91 percent of whom are minority. Among the reasons Houston schools stood out among the nation's largest urban school districts:
- HISD's African-American graduation rate improved faster than in other urban districts nationally. The graduation rate of Houston's African-American students, as shown by the average of three nationally recognized graduation rate estimation methods, increased 13 percentage points from 2006 to 2009.
- HISD increased the percentage of Hispanic and African-American students taking college readiness exams more quickly than other urban districts nationally.
- Between 2008 and 2011, SAT participation rates for HISD's Hispanic students increased by 15 percentage points.
- In this same period, Advanced Placement (AP) exam participation by Hispanic students increased 13 percentage points, an average of about 4 percentage points per year--an improvement rate that ranked in the top 10 percent of all 75 Broad Prize-eligible districts.
- And in 2011, the percentage of HISD's African-American students taking an AP exam--23 percent--ranked in the top 10 percent of Broad Prize eligible districts.
- Similarly, the percent of HISD's Hispanic students taking an AP exam in 2011--29 percent--ranked in the top 20 percent of eligible districts.
- A greater percentage of Hispanic and low-income students reach advanced academic levels in Houston than in other urban districts in Texas. In 2011, the percentage of HISD's Hispanic students that performed at the highest achievement level (Commended) in math and science at all school levels (elementary, middle, high school) ranked in the top 30 percent statewide compared to Hispanic students in other Texas districts. In addition, the percentage of Houston's low-income students that performed at the highest achievement level in math at all school levels and in elementary and middle school science ranked in the top 30 percent statewide compared to low-income students in other Texas districts.
- Houston narrowed almost all of its income achievement gaps. In recent years, Houston narrowed achievement gaps between low-income and non-low-income students in math and science at all school levels and in elementary and middle school reading.
For a full electronic press kit, including details on policies and practices that distinguished Houston ISD from other large urban districts, please visit www.broadprize.org.
The 11-member selection jury that chose this year's winner included:
- Henry Cisneros, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development
- Christopher Dodd, former U.S. senator from Connecticut
- Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Company
- James Hunt, Jr., former governor of North Carolina
- Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund
- Edward Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania
- Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state
- Richard Riley, former U.S. secretary of education
- Margaret Spellings, former U.S. secretary of education
- Andrew Stern, president emeritus of Service Employees International Union
- Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and editor of U.S. News & World Report
The selection jury evaluated quantitative data on the finalists that consisted of publicly available student performance data compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm. In addition, the jury evaluated the four finalist districts' policies and practices, compiled following site visits conducted by a team of education practitioners led by RMC Research Corporation, an education consulting company. The site visits included classroom observations and interviews with administrators, teachers, principals, parents, community leaders, school board members and union representatives.
The 2012 finalists were selected this past spring by a review board of 13 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, think-tanks and foundations that evaluated publicly available student performance data.
As a finalist for the 2012 Broad Prize, Houston ISD will receive $150,000 in college scholarships for its high school seniors who graduate in 2013. Broad Prize scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate significant financial need and who have improved their grades during high school. Scholarship recipients who enroll in four-year colleges will receive up to $20,000 paid out over four years ($5,000 per year). Broad Prize scholars who enroll in two-year colleges will receive up to $5,000 scholarships paid out over two years ($2,500 per year). For more information on the scholarship program, please visit http://broadprize.org/scholarship_program/overview.html.
Founded by self-made 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. For more information, please visit www.broadeducation.org.
Note: An archived webcast of the event will be accessible today after 2 p.m. Central at www.broadprize.org. Photos of the event will be available on http://broadprize.org/mediacenter/photos/2012.html
after 3 p.m. Central today.