Miami-Dade school district wins Broad Prize for most student progress

For the Miami-Dade school district, the fifth time’s the charm. After being a finalist four other times, Florida’s biggest school system finally won the Broad Prize in education today, given to the urban district making the most progress in student achievement. “Miracles are possible, even when you have to wait five years,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said as he accepted the award, according to the Miami Herald.

The prize is well deserved. Miami-Dade has a greater percentage of low-income and minority students than any big district in Florida. And yet, as we’ve noted many times on redefinED (like here and here), no big district has made bigger gains over the past decade. The judges at the Broad Foundation took note. So did U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: “I commend the entire Miami-Dade community for establishing a district-wide culture of results that empowers teachers and students, puts more resources into helping children in the lowest-performing schools, and is helping narrow the opportunity gap.”

Carvalho listed a number of strategies to explain the district’s success, including a focus on teacher quality and struggling schools, and an expansion of learning options. All of those reforms together helped lift the kids in Miami-Dade. All of Florida should be proud.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at