LA foundation suspends $1M prize for urban school districts

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2015 3:21 PM
LA foundation suspends $1M prize for urban school districts

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A foundation started by philanthropist Eli Broad has suspended a national prize awarded annually to a top-performing urban school system.

The $1 million award was pulled amid concerns that the schools are failing to improve quickly enough, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday (http://lat.ms/16FF9ct ).

The Broad Prize for Urban Education was established 13 years ago to encourage success in raising student achievement.

"We've seen some of that, but not enough and not fast enough," said Bruce Reed, president of the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

Last year, there were co-winners: Orange County Public Schools in Florida, which won praise for rapid improvement; and Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, honored for sustained high performance.

Such awards can give urban schools a leg up, said Pedro Noguera, a professor of education at New York University.

The Broad prize "gave urban districts something to strive for, something to learn from," Noguera told the Times. "They need that. I saw districts that were working real hard to get it."

Broad is no longer certain that he wants to reward traditional school districts at all, according to the newspaper.

The billionaire recently established a $250,000 prize for charter organizations, an award that will continue. Charters are publicly funded and independently managed.

Broad has been involved in many education-related initiatives. A branch of his foundation operates a training academy for superintendents and other senior education leaders.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/