Finally, the three-time bridesmaid (this was the fourth year that Aldine has been a finalist) has become the bride after the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation folks selected the suburban Houston district as the 2009 winner of the Broad Prize in Urban Education.
Broad, as usual, put on a glitzy affair to fete the winner, staging the ceremony this year at the new visitor center at the U.S. Capitol. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed up, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty, who, we are sure, was salivating at the prospects that his city’s school system could one day win. (Broad Prize 2015 perhaps?)
The award will shower Aldine with $1 million to be used for college scholarships for students who’ve made the biggest gains over a three-year period, but who otherwise don’t get a crack at merit-based scholarships.
So, there’s a ton of fanfare around this award every year, and, to be sure, there are urban districts out there hungry to win the prize. Dallas, for example, has its “Road to Broad” strategy. Mr. Broad, in establishing the prize, wanted to recognize the progress that urban schools, often overlooked and denigrated, have made in closing the achievement gap.
But I wonder how the broader field views this award.Are the winners really the best urban districts in the nation? Or is the prize all about politics,
as some critics believe.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.