A Look at the Contenders for Top Prize in Urban Education

HISD seniors could receive over half a million dollars in college scholarships if HISD takes home the most coveted honor a public school system can win: The Broad Prize for Urban Education. This year’s Broad Prize winner will be announced on September 25, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. HISD is competing against three other school districts: the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif.; Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina; and the San Diego Unified School District in Southern California. All four finalists, including HISD, are guaranteed $150,000 in scholarships for high school seniors who will graduate in 2014.


Earlier this year, a group of national education experts toured various HISD schools to gather information about why Houston students continue to outpace their peers in similar districts around the country. In addition, the group met with focus groups of parents, students, staff and community members. During their visit, Broad Foundation representatives also distributed $165,000 in college scholarships among nine members of the Class of 2013. The students received the scholarship money because the district was a finalist for the 2012 Broad Prize.

The Broad Prize is awarded annually by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a national education philanthropy based in Los Angeles that seeks to ensure every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. The award honors urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement in the nation while reducing income and ethnic achievement gaps.

In addition to being a finalist for 2012 and 2013, HISD took home the inaugural Broad Prize in 2002.