The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has announced a $40 million grant to endow the Broad Prize for Urban Education and ensure the continuation of the largest award recognizing the most improved urban school districts in America.
Created in 2002, the annual prize recognizes large urban school districts that have demonstrated the strongest improvement in student achievement while narrowing achievement gaps among racial/ethnic and income groups. The money from the prize is used to fund college scholarships for graduating seniors. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the program, the total annual award amount will be scaled back starting this year to the original $1 million level, from the $2 million awarded from 2007 through 2010; the winning district will receive $550,000, while the three other finalists will receive $150,000 each.
In addition, the foundation announced that it was tightening the eligibility requirements to ensure that districts competing for the prize are truly urban and comparable. As a result, the number of eligible districts will fall from one hundred to seventy-five, while the number of finalists will be cut to four from five. To qualify, school districts must serve at least 37,500 students, significant percentages of whom must be low-income and minority students. Districts must also be located in a large or midsize city or the suburb of a large city. The 2011 Broad Prize finalists will be announced in early April.
"The education field has been inspired by the academic progress happening in our nation's most improved large urban school districts over the past decade," said Eli Broad. "We are pleased to continue highlighting the best results where they occur for years to come so that others may borrow the lessons these districts have learned to propel all of our students across the academic finish line."