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Unofficial Broad Prize Winner for Charter Schools: KIPP

From guest blogger Catherine Gewertz:

Education glitterati turned out by the truckload for yesterday's confab honoring Texas' Aldine Independent School District as this year's winner of the Broad Prize in Urban Education. So there was a rather distinguished audience present when the philanthropy's founder, Eli Broad, uttered a surprising tidbit.

Cindy Legagneur, who won a college scholarship from the foundation in 2003, had just finished sharing her impressive accomplishments, including her position as a manager of student data for KIPP-DC. Returning to the microphone afterward, Broad said, "Well, Cindy, if we had a Broad Prize for charter schools, KIPP would certainly be the winner."

In the audience, there was a little ripple of swiveling heads and whispers. Two people sitting in front of me looked at each other with wide-open eyes and raised eyebrows. One silently mouthed to the other: "Wow."

A philanthropy staffer told me later that Mr. Broad's scripted remarks were something more along the lines of "If we had a Broad Prize for charter schools, KIPP would certainly be in the winner's circle." The staffer noted that the remarks had been written that way in no small part because staff members from other (i.e. non-KIPP) charter schools were in the audience. (The foundation supports a number of them.) But, the Broad staffer told me, emitting a frustrated growl, "Eli loves KIPP, and he's pretty hard to control."

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