Congratulations to Gwinnett County Public Schools whose students earned this year’s Broad Foundation $1 million award as the nation’s best urban school district. The announcement was made Tuesday in New York. Gwinnett is the state’s largest public school district with 161,000 students. It earned the award based on sustained achievement over several years.
Educators and other interested parties in Georgia can contrast that with last week’s disclosure that several dozen Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents are now assigned to work on the Atlanta Public Schools System test cheating scandal. One is the kind of education news you want to hear and celebrate. One is the kind you never want to hear.
The Broad Prize is sometimes described as the “Nobel Prize” of education. Each year billionaire philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad award $2 million to five urban school districts. The winner receives $1 million and four finalists receive $250,000 in college scholarship funds for high school students.
Gwinnett was a Broad Foundation national finalist last year. The Prize recognizes student improvement and achievement that narrows the gap between income and ethnic groups. The Foundation honored Gwinnett for results during the 2005 to 2009 school years.
Gwinnett teacher Tim Mullen, district Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks and Board Chairman Dr. Kay Murphy celebrated in the photo here.
Atlanta received high praise for classroom progress over several years. Now federal and state investigators are asking questions to determine how much progress was faked by adults who may have changed answers or coaxed students taking standardized tests required by law.
Georgia needs more good education stories like Gwinnett to offset negative publicity generated by the test cheating scandal. Governor Sonny Perdue’s office properly rejected the Atlanta Public School System’s lame internal review. State and federal investigations are underway in Atlanta with federal agents involved because the district receives federal funds.
Bottom line here: Congratulations, Gwinnett!
Mike Klein writes about education as Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation
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