April 2, 2009
The 5 Most Improved Urban School Districts for 2009
Five school districts
from California to Florida are in the
running for an award that has been described as a Nobel Prize in education
reform. The Broad Prize for Urban Education, as the award is officially known,
is given each year to an urban school district that has made significant
progress in raising achievement, especially among low-income and minority students. The award comes with $2 million in scholarships for
the five finalists.
A little NCLB/ high-stakes testing/accountability history is in order. The first annual Broad Prize went to the Houston Independent School District, presided over by then-to-be Secretary of Education Rod Paige, for accomplishing the Houston Miracle, a "success" story that turned out to be a massive fraud produced by Enron-type accounting. The Texas model of success became the blueprint for NCLB.
In 2008, the Broad Prize went to the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas. On the distinguished panel of the 2008 selection jury was none other than Rod Paige. As Susan Ohanian noted:
So what choice did Broad have when a vast majority
of the nation's largest urban districts, including three of the four runners-up for this year's Broad prize, also failed to meet NCLB's annual targets? They look at "other indicators". Hmmm. Some people have been advocating this all along.
Hey, U.S. News! Great in-depth coverage and a Nobel Prize for you.