Broad Foundation Announces 2008 Finalists for Urban Education Prize

The Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has announced the finalists for this year's Broad Prize for Urban Education, a $1 million award given annually to the nation's outstanding urban public school district.

The prize recognizes districts that are making the greatest progress in raising student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among ethnic groups and between high- and low-income students. The winning district, to be announced in October, will receive $500,000 for college scholarships for graduating seniors, while each of the other four finalists will receive $125,000.

This year one hundred of the largest urban school districts nationwide were eligible for the prize. The finalists are Aldine Independent School District, near Houston; Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the Brownsville Independent School District, on the Texas-Mexico border; the Long Beach Unified School District, in California; and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Miami-Dade and Aldine are previous finalists, while Long Beach is a former prize winner.

All of this year's finalists serve a significant number of Hispanic students, who made significant gains in several categories. Hispanic students in all five districts, for example, both outperformed and showed greater improvement than their peers in similar districts in their respective states. In addition, all five districts made notable progress in narrowing achievement gaps between Hispanic students and their white peers.

"While numerous urban school districts are struggling to prepare students today for the jobs of tomorrow, these finalists are demonstrating that academic progress in our cities is possible and is happening," said Broad Foundation founder Eli Broad. "Everyone involved, from parents to teachers to staff in these districts, can be proud of their success. Their progress in improving student achievement is a model for other districts around the country."