by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
At first, I thought that CMS received the Broad Prize because the district had close ties to the Broad Foundation. Former superintendent Peter Gorman was a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy and he received help from Broad to implement a performance pay program for teachers. According to Education Week, it doesn’t work like that.
Seventy-five urban school districts are identified each year as eligible candidates for the award, based on size, low-income enrollment, minority enrollment, and urban environment. School districts are nominated for the prize but cannot apply themselves.
A 21-person review board then narrowed the list of candidates to four, basing the selections mostly on quantitative data. A second panel of seven business, government, and education leaders chose the winner of the prize.
CMS is the first school district in North Carolina to win the prize. Reviewers noted that CMS has done an outstanding job of closing achievement gaps.
School districts in Cumberland, Guilford, and Forsyth counties were eligible for the award. To be eligible, districts must have “at least 40 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch (FRSL), at least 40 percent of students from minority groups, and an urban designation.” Wake County did not meet these criteria.