eli_edythe_broad_web.jpgTwo Florida school districts — Miami-Dade and Palm Beach — have been named as two of four finalists finalists for a prestigious urban education prize, the Broad Prize for Urban Education.

The Broad (rhymes with “road”) Prize for Urban Education is an annual $1 million award — the largest education prize in the country — honoring urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students.

The winner of the prize will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art. In announcing the finalists, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation praised the districts for making greater advances in reading and math than other urban districts nationwide.

Houston won the

inaugural Broad Prize in 2002. Miami-Dade is a five-time finalist, including last year — tying the record of Broad Prize winners Boston Public Schools and the Long Beach Independent School District. In the history of the award, only three districts in the nation have ever achieved Broad Prize finalist status five times.


Palm Beach and Corona-Norco are both first-time finalists. If the district wins the award this fall, Palm Beach County high school seniors who graduate in 2013 will receive $550,000 in college scholarships, but are guaranteed at least $150,000 in college scholarships since the district is a finalist for the award. 

“Palm Beach joins the ranks of the nation’s most improved urban school districts for the first time this year,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “While all urban districts have much more work to do to help students of all backgrounds thrive, Palm Beach County can take pride that its district stands out nationally for helping students improve academically.”

Seventy-five of the nation’s largest urban school districts were automatically eligible and considered for the 2012 Broad Prize. School districts cannot apply or be nominated.

This year’s four finalists were selected by a review board of 13 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, civil rights advocates, think-tanks and foundations. The review board evaluated publicly available academic achievement data that were compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm. 


Among the data considered are SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement participation rates and outcomes, graduation rates, state assessments in reading, math and science, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, student demographics including poverty, state test rigor, per pupil expenditures and district size. 

The Broad Foundation does not play a role in selecting the finalists or the winner.

Photo: BROAD PRIZE: Founding sponsors Eli and Edythe Broad.