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The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools honors the public charter management organization that has demonstrated the best academic outcomes, particularly for low-income students and students of color.

The winner of the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is IDEA Public Schools, which will receive $250,000 to support college-readiness programs for its students. The winner was announced at the National Charter School Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on June 27.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation partnered with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to present the 2016 award.

First awarded in 2012, The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is designed to recognize the best practices of successful public charter management organizations so that all public school systems can learn from them.

Eligibility

The Broad Foundation set the following rules to ensure that Broad Prize-eligible charter management organizations are comparable to each other in that they operate multiple school sites and serve significant numbers of students—particularly low-income students and students of color.


To be eligible for the 2016 Broad Prize, charter management organizations must have:


  • Five or more schools in operation as of 2013-2014,
  • 2,500 students or more enrolled each year since 2013-2014,
  • At least 40 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch in 2013-2014, and
  • At least 33 percent of students are students of color in 2013-2014.


Although we respect the work of individual charter schools that are making strong student gains, the practical need to collect comparable data makes the inclusion of all charter schools impossible. Organizations that outsource operations to other charter management organizations do not qualify.

Charter organizations that serve entirely special populations are not eligible. Organizations that operate some schools that serve entirely special populations must meet the above eligibility criteria based on the enrollment in their regular schools, and only the student achievement results for their regular schools are included in The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools analysis.

Finally, we don’t accept nominations or applications for the award, and winners from the previous three years are ineligible.


The following public charter management organizations are eligible for the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools:


  • Achievement First, Inc.
  • Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
  • Aspire Public Schools
  • Breakthrough Charter Schools
  • Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA)
  • Celerity Educational Group
  • Concept Schools
  • EdKey Inc.
  • Friendship Public Charter School
  • Gateway Community Charter Schools
  • Green Dot Public Schools
  • Harmony Public Schools
  • High Tech High
  • IDEA Public Schools
  • Imagine Schools, Inc.
  • Lawndale Educational And Regional (8 campuses)
  • Lifeschool of Dallas
  • Lighthouse Academies
  • Magnolia Public Schools
  • Mastery Charter Schools
  • Options for Youth Public Charter Schools
  • Partnerships to Uplift Communities
  • Performance Academies
  • Propel Schools
  • Rocketship Education
  • Success Academy Charter Schools
  • Universal Companies
  • UNO Charter School Network (15 campuses)
  • Uplift Education
  • Yes Prep Public Schools


Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools?

The $250,000 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is an annual award given to the urban public charter school management organization that demonstrates the most outstanding academic outcomes. The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is the sister award to The Broad Prize for Urban Education, which is given to traditional school systems. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation created both awards to help schools across America learn from innovative public school systems producing the strongest student outcomes.

What does the winner receive?

The winner of The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools receives $250,000 for college-readiness efforts for low-income students and students of color, such as scholarships or campus visits.

Why did The Broad Foundation create this award?

We wanted to recognize and reward the most outstanding academic performance among charter management organizations so that public school systems nationwide—whether district or charter—could learn from their success.

The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools seeks to recognize those charter models that show the most outstanding academic outcomes at scale, particularly for traditionally disadvantaged students. The prize also aims to create an accessible repository of high-quality data on student achievement and policies and practices in the largest charter management organizations across the country.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the 2016 Broad Prize, charter management organizations must have:

  • Five or more schools in operation as of 2013-2014,
  • 2,500 students or more enrolled each year since 2013-2014,
  • At least 40 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch in 2013-2014, and
  • At least 33 percent of students are students of color in 2013-2014.

Why were those criteria established?

These criteria were established to ensure that the charter management organizations considered for The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools are comparable—that they serve a significant number of students, share similar demographics, operate at scale, and organize schools under the same management organization.

Most charter schools that are ineligible for the award are single-school operators that are not affiliated with a charter management organization. Organizations that outsource school operations to other charter management organizations also do not qualify, nor do for-profit charter operators.

Although many ineligible individual charter schools have made strong student gains and have important lessons to share, the practical need to collect and run comparable data makes the inclusion of all charter schools impossible at this point.

The Broad Foundation will continue to review the eligibility criteria and will make revisions to future eligibility requirements deemed necessary to establish the most appropriate, fair and useful comparison possible.

Which organizations are eligible?

See a list of organizations eligible for The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools here.

Who selects the winner?

A review board of prominent education experts from across the country examines student achievement data collected from states with eligible charter management organizations, the College Board and ACT, and analyzed by an independent data research organization. The Broad Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools do not play a role in choosing the winner. Learn more about review board members here.

What methodology is used to select the top charter organizations?

Typically, states report student achievement data for charter management organizations at the school level rather than in the aggregate. Consequently, The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools’ methodology aggregates school-level student achievement data for all schools affiliated with each of the eligible management organizations to generate organization-wide results and statistics that are presented to the review board. The data are collected, reviewed and analyzed by an independent research organization.   

What quantitative data does the review board consider?

The review board considers the following student achievement and demographic data: 

  • Performance results on mandated state tests in reading, math and science
  • The magnitude of achievement gaps between ethnic groups and between low-income and non-low-income students 

In the case of high schools: 

  • State-reported graduation rates
  • Advanced Placement exam participation and passing rates
  • SAT and ACT exam participation rates and scores
  • Demographic data (e.g., student enrollment, income, ethnicity)

No formula is used to choose the winner. Members of the review board select the winner based on their analysis of publicly available student achievement data, their professional judgment, experience and mutual discussion. Among the factors the review board considers are student outcomes, scalability, size, poverty, demographics, discipline policies and student attrition rates.

How does the review board compare management organizations that serve primarily high school students to those that serve primarily elementary school students?

Assessment data are standardized so that it can be comparable across organizations. For example, an eligible management organization’s high school performance levels are compared to performance levels for public high school students in traditional districts in the state. The resulting relative rankings of performance versus students at the same school levels make the data comparable across CMOs in different states.

How does the review board analyze the results of charter management organizations that operate schools in different states?

For charter management organizations that operate schools in different states, organization-level analyses are first summarized for each state. National aggregations to reflect management organization-level results are presented where methodologically sound.

How is this award different from The Broad Prize for Urban Education?

The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools closely mirrors the process used for The Broad Prize for Urban Education given to traditional school districts. For example, similar categories of student achievement data and analytical methodologies are considered. However, the quantitative methodology used for the charter prize is modified as necessary to account for differences in the availability and quality of school-level data. In addition, unlike the school district award, because there are fewer eligible management organizations, the review board selects the winner.

What is The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation?

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation was created by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation’s education work 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 enable good teachers to do great work and students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive.

What is the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools?

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Its mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter movement. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.

What does “charter management organization” mean?

Given that commonly used terms and definitions in the field are still developing, The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools uses “charter management organization” to refer to organizations that operate multiple public charter schools under a shared management strategy or organizations or firms with one clear educational model that covers multiple public charter schools. The schools at issue also must receive public funds and operate schools under the same admissions rules as traditional public schools.  

The term “charter management organization” is intended to be consistent with the definition of “charter management organization” used by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ charter school database.

Review Board

Each year, a group of prominent education experts from across the country chooses the top three charter management organizations in the country from among the eligible charters and selects the winner. They review student achievement data—including more than 100 measures reflecting students’ college readiness, achievement gaps and proficiency levels—collected from states with eligible charter management organizations, the College Board and ACT and analyzed by an independent research organization. The review board meets to discuss, debate and finally select a winner by secret ballot.

Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross founded Cross & Joftus, LLC in 2004 to provide education leaders with personalized and expert assistance in policy analysis and development, evaluation, executive coaching, planning and communication strategies. Cross is a former Senior Fellow with the Center on Education Policy and is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Education Commission of the States. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the Council for Basic Education and as an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush. He also served as president of the Maryland State Board of Education from 1994 to 1997 and is the author of Political Education: Setting the Course for State and Federal Policy, published by Teachers College Press.

Jane Hannaway

Jane Hannaway is a professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and an Institute Fellow at the American Institutes of Research (AIR). She is the founding Director of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), headquartered at AIR where she was also Vice President. Hannaway is also the immediate past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, and previously served as founding director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute and on the faculty of Columbia, Princeton and Stanford universities. Her current re-search is heavily focused on issues associated with teacher labor markets and education accountability policies.

Margot Rogers

Margot Rogers is senior advisor to the Education Practice at Parthenon-EY. Prior to joining Parthenon, she was chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Rogers also has served in multiple roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including deputy director of education and the special assistant to the director of education, where she managed the development of the foundation’s college-ready education strategy and staff realignment, and also served on the education division’s investment committee and strategic leadership team. She has served on numerous education-related boards and advisory commissions and is currently on the Board of Directors for The Joyce Foundation.

Nelson Smith

Nelson Smith is senior advisor to the National Association for Charter School Authorizers. He was the first president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools from 2004 to 2010. Previously, Smith served as vice president for policy and governance at New American Schools, as the first executive director of the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, and as vice president for education and workforce development at the New York City Partnership. He has also taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has authored numerous reports and studies on charter schooling and educational policy.

Christopher B. Swanson

Christopher B. Swanson is the vice president of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week. As a member of EPE’s senior leadership team, his responsibilities include project and product development, strategic planning, fundraising activities, and building relationships with other organizations working to advance American education. Swanson heads EPE’s research and development division, which includes the EPE Research Center, library, and knowledge services units, as well as Education Week Press. Swanson is a frequent commentator on a variety of issues, among them: high school dropout and completion, educational policy and research, standards and accountability, instructional reform, student mobility, and public school choice.

Martin West

Martin West is associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also deputy director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, executive editor of Education Next, a journal of opinion and research on education policy, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. West studies the politics of K-12 education in the United States and how education policies affect student learning and non-cognitive development. His current projects include studies of public opinion on education policy, school and teacher effects on non-tested skills, and the influence of pay on teacher quality. In 2013-14, West worked as senior advisor to the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He previously taught at Brown University and was a research fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is now a non-resident senior fellow. He is also a founding board member of Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, an organization helping educators open economically diverse public charter schools in partnership with mayors.

Priscilla Wohlstetter

Priscilla Wohlstetter is Distinguished Research Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to her appointment at TC, Wohlstetter held the Diane and MacDonald Becket Professorship in Education Policy at the University of Southern California, where she founded and directed the Center on Educational Governance. Her research and writing has focused broadly on the policies and politics of K-12 education reform and specifically on charter schools, public-private partnerships, school networks, and most recently, implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Her latest book (co-authored with J. Smith & C.C. Farrell) is Choices & Challenges: Charter School Performance in Perspective (Harvard Educational Press).

Winners

2016 Winner – IDEA Public Schools

IDEA Public Schools is a three-time finalist and winner of the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, demonstrating an impressive record of consistent student achievement. A Texas network of 44 schools throughout Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, IDEA Public Schools serves a student body that is 90 percent low-income and 95 percent Hispanic. Nearly all of IDEA’s high school seniors take the ACT and graduate on time, and IDEA’s schools consistently perform in the top third of Texas schools.

The two finalists are Success Academy of New York City and YES Prep of Houston.

Learn more about the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools.

2016 Video: Top Three CMOs

2016 Press Release

2015 Winner – Noble Network


Chicago-based Noble Network is the rare charter management organization that focuses on high school—grades that are considered the most difficult to improve academic achievement. Noble, however, has consistently defied the odds at its 16 high schools and one middle school. Its 10,000 students—95 percent of whom are African American or Hispanic and 89 percent of whom are from low-income families—surpass their peers on state exams and graduate at higher rates.

The two finalists are Achievement First and IDEA Public Schools.

Learn more about the 2015 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

2015 Video: Top Three CMOs
2015 Eligible CMOs
2015 Review Board
2015 Press Release

2014 Winner – KIPP Schools


With 141 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, KIPP Schools serves 50,000 students, the great majority of whom come from low-income communities and who are students of color. KIPP closed more than a fifth of its ethnic and income achievement gaps for middle school students and 65 percent of elementary school gaps.

The two finalists are Achievement First and IDEA Public Schools.

Learn more about the 2014 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

2014 Video: Top Three CMOs
2014 Eligible CMOs
2014 Review Board
2014 Press Release

2013 Winner – Uncommon Schools


Based in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York and serving 10,000 students, Uncommon Schools’ low-income and African-American students are outperforming their peers in their home states. Uncommon focuses on intensive training for all teachers—believing every educator can improve to become an excellent teacher—and on developing in-house curricula and teaching methods.

The two finalists are Achievement First and KIPP Foundation.

Learn more about the 2013 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

2013 White Paper
2013 Eligible CMOs
2013 Review Board
2013 Press Release

2012 Winner – YES Prep Public Schools


Houston-based YES Prep serves 9,000 students in 13 schools and sends nearly every single graduating senior to college. The charter organization has also eliminated nearly every income and ethnic achievement gap its students faced.

Learn more about the 2012 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

2012 White Paper
2012 Eligible CMOs
2012 Review Board
2012 Press Release

Explore The Prize

The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

2012 - Present

The Broad Prize For Urban Education
Read more

2002 - 2014

The Broad Prize Scholarship Program
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