A prestigious award that honors “pioneers” in education will this year focus for the first time on individuals working to prepare global leaders for the future.
The $25,000 Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education is awarded annually to three people who have worked to improve education at the local, state, or national level.
Because this year marks the award’s 20th anniversary, its sponsor, the McGraw-Hill Cos., wanted to take the opportunity to look forward, said Eileen Gabrielle, the vice president for corporate affairs for the New York City-based company.
In recent years, federal and state leaders have often called for preparing American students to face the challenges of a globalized economy. Books such as Thomas L. Friedman’s The World Is Flat talk about a leveling of the playing fields between industrial and emerging countries.
Ms. Gabrielle pointed to Mr. Friedman’s best-seller as an example of why McGraw-Hill believes the time is right to focus on leaders who are preparing students for such a change.
“Globalization as a topic has increasingly been in the public eye,” she said.
This year’s potential honorees could be, for instance, principals of schools who develop sister-school relationships in other countries, or of new schools with a focus on international education, language, and culture, Ms. Gabrielle said.
She added that an award could potentially be shared by someone in the United States and his or her international partner.
Programs With Results
The awards will be announced Sept. 25 in New York City. Honorees are chosen by a panel of judges that includes academics and officials from education foundations, among others.
Individuals who are considered have to be involved in successful programs, Ms. Gabrielle said. “We look for promising programs and leaders who are driving them, but also programs that have been here long enough,” she said. “It can’t just be a good idea, but has to be achieving results.”
Past recipients of the prize include former U.S. Secretaries of Education Richard W. Riley and Rod Paige, and Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America.
One of last year’s recipients was Norman R. Augustine, the former chairman of the Lockheed Martin Corp. and the chairman of the National Academies’ Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, that prepared a 2005 report urging the federal government to shore up U.S. leadership in science and technology.
The report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” predicted that the United States would lose high-quality jobs to other nations, unless the country produced more top-notch scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2007 edition of Education Week as McGraw Prize to Be Awarded to Promoters of International Education