$1 Million Broad Prize for Urban Education Awarded to Norfolk Public Schools, Four Finalist Districts

Sept. 20, 2005

WASHINGTON – The Broad Foundation announced today that Norfolk Public Schools is the winner of the 2005 Broad Prize for Urban Education, the largest education prize in the country awarded to the most outstanding urban school districts. Founder Eli Broad was joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at the Library of Congress in making the announcement.

The $1 million Broad (pronounced “brode”) Prize is an annual award that honors the country’s urban school districts that are making the great improvements in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among ethnic groups and between high- and low-income students. The money goes directly to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships.

As the winner of The Broad Prize, Norfolk Public Schools will receive $500,000, and the four finalists – Aldine Independent School District near Houston, Boston Public Schools, New York City Department of Education, and San Francisco Unified School District – will each receive $125,000. This year was the third time Norfolk was a finalist for The Broad Prize, bringing the district’s three-year winnings to $750,000.

“Norfolk Public Schools have made remarkable progress in the past four years, demonstrating not only high achievement by all student groups but also greater improvement than similar districts in the state,” Broad said. “Norfolk’s success can be attributed to the district’s strong leadership, and the solid partnership with the school board, unions and community. It is clear that they have made education a priority for all students, and that commitment is evident in their academic results.”

“We commend all of the finalists for their achievements and for demonstrating that despite challenges, success is possible,” Broad said.

For more information on Norfolk Public Schools and all of The Broad Prize finalists, go to www.broadprize.org.

The Broad Prize was started in 2002. The inaugural winner was Houston Independent School District, followed by Long Beach Unified School District in 2003 and Garden Grove Unified School District last year.

More than 80 urban school districts nationwide were eligible for The Broad Prize this year. The five finalists were selected based on a rigorous review of data compiled and analyzed by the National Center for Educational Accountability. A board of 17 prominent education leaders then reviewed the data and selected the five finalist districts.

Teams of educational researchers and practitioners then conducted site visits at each of the finalist school districts to gather statistical and qualitative information, including interviews with district administrators, focus groups with teachers and principals and classroom observations. The information was presented to a selection jury, comprised of two former U.S. secretaries of education and other leading figures from business and industry, education and public service, to choose the winning district.

The Selection Jury for the 2005 Broad Prize was Jeb Bush, governor of Florida; Henry G. Cisneros, chairman and CEO of American CityVista; John M. Engler, former governor of Michigan; James B. Hunt, Jr., former governor of North Carolina; Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education; Hugh B. Price, former president and CEO of the National Urban League; Richard W. Riley, former U.S. secretary of education; and Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union.

The Broad Foundation is a Los Angeles-based venture philanthropy established in 1999 by Eli and Edythe Broad. The Foundation’s mission is to dramatically improve K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation’s Internet address is www.broadfoundation.org.


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