The Most Important Award In Public Education Struggles To Find Winners

broadReposted from Five Thirty Eight Life:

“The Broad Prize review board made clear its frustration with the overall rate of growth in urban schools in naming only two finalists for the award this year — rather than the customary four or five. When the nominations were announced, Christopher Cross, a member of the review board and former U.S. assistant secretary of education, said the committee was “struck by how incremental progress has been in recent years and by how far our public schools still have to go to provide a world-class education for all children.”

While the prize has been criticized for its narrow pool of finalists and winners — 60 percent have come from Texas, California and Florida — Que, the prize director, said the review board would like to see more repeat winners as evidence of sustained academic gains. “We’re just not seeing any districts hit it out of the ballpark,” she said.

Even if one district were to stand out, Robert Slavin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education and the director of its center for research and reform in education, is skeptical that it could work as a blueprint for other districts. Although some of the curriculum is transferable between schools, he said that varying socioeconomic characteristics of different school districts — and the challenges they might present — require a tailored approach to school management. “What a district does is not designed for replication,” Slavin said. “It’s designed to address the problems of that district.”

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