Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Broad Prize Finalists Recognized for Hispanic Student Gains

Four finalists are in the running for the elite $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, recognized for their success in boosting the achievement levels of low-income, Latino and black students.

The winner won’t be announced until Sept. 25. The winner will receive $550,000 in scholarships for students, and the three other finalists will receive $150,000 each. According to the press release, 75 of the nation’s largest districts were eligible and considered for the prize.

But here are a few details on the achievements of the finalists:

- Corona-Norco Unified School District, California. Higher percentages of Hispanic and black students are testing at the “advanced” achievement level in reading, math and science, than in other districts.

- Cumberland County Schools, North Carolina. The school system’s graduation rate increased twice as fast as in other urban districts–by 4% between 2007 and 2009, versus the average of 2%.

- Houston Independent School District, Texas. The district had the highest SAT participation rate among other urban districts for all students. In particular, 84% of the district’s Hispanic students took the exam.

- San Diego Unified School District. Hispanic, black and low-income students improved in science more than students in much of the state.

Corona-Norco Unified and Houston were both finalists in 2012.

To get an idea of just how coveted the prize is, San Diego superintendent Bill Kowba called it “the Oscars of the education world,” KPBS reported. A Houston Chronicle editorial boasted that the city is known as “the Silicon Valley of education reform.”