Eli Broad Foundation to Suspend National Prize for Urban School Systems!

Dear Commons Community,

Billionaire Eli Broad has suspended a $1-million prize to honor the best urban school systems out of concern that they are failing to improve quickly enough.

The action underscores the changing education landscape as well the evolving thinking and impatience of the 81-year-old philanthropist.

The $1 million award was pulled amid concerns that the schools are failing to improve quickly enough, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

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.

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.

Eli Broad also attracted lots of attention in 2012 for being among donors whose money was channeled anonymously through several organizations before landing in a committee that unsuccessfully tried to defeat Proposition 30 in California, a temporary tax increase that prevented deep budget cuts to education.

Broad’s suspension of his prize is no great loss.  His foundation has an ideological agenda based on privatization and corporatization of  public education.  This prize essentially was for school districts that followed his agenda.



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