The fifth time was the charm for Miami-Dade Public Schools, which won the prestigious Broad Prize on Tuesday, for minority students making spectacular gains in academics.
This award is one more enticement for businesses looking to move to Miami-Dade. The second important lure will be an updating of technology and infrastructure at the district’s schools, a $1-billion bond measure before the voters that’s worth every penny.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho notes that a tough economy the past five years and draconian budget cuts by the state could have been used as excuses for poor academic performance. Instead Mr. Carvalho and the School Board made no excuses. They focused on struggling schools, changing principals and teachers where necessary, created magnet schools and counted on mentoring programs like City Year and Teach for America to help make a difference.
Graduation rates for black and Hispanic students shot up 14 percentage points from 2006 to 2009, more students are taking the SAT and scoring higher and more minority students advanced to higher academic levels.
Thanks to Broad, qualified students from poor families will be rewarded with $550,000 in college scholarships. Excellent. Poverty does not have to be an obstacle to success — not when there’s a laser-like focus on students. The Broad is just the beginning.