Achievement Gap Series: Part II…making a difference

William Woods EDU

In part two of our look at achievement gaps, we turn attention to the McGraw Hill Financial Research Foundation, which each year tries to focus attention on outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to education innovation. Closing achievement gaps is the focus of the Foundation’s 2014 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education winners.

Past winners include Shirley Hill, a Missouri resident and teacher and an early leader in the move to improve mathematics education in the United States.

Recently, this year’s winners gathered at the New York Public Library for a ceremony where they were each presented with a $50,000 award. Now in its 27th year, the Prize honors innovators in education and focuses this year on those who have found ways to narrow a particular achievement gap in a broadly replicable manner. This year’s winners are:

Andreas Schleicher

Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has been named the winner of the Global Leadership Prize. Schleicher has been responsible for the design implementation and analysis of OECD’s comparative assessments of the performance of education systems, including the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which provides the definitive source of data on how 15-year-old students in 70 member countries apply their academic knowledge to real-life situations. PISA has become the benchmark for how academic progress is measured throughout the world.

Chris Lehmann

Founding Principal, Science Leadership Academy

Chris Lehmann, Founding Principal, Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia,  Pa has won the Rising Star Prize. In 2006, Lehmann launched the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) as a public magnet high school in partnership with The Franklin Institute science museum. The school tackles the achievement gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects for highly qualified minority students. The school emphasizes college preparation and entrepreneurship through a technology-rich, inquiry-driven curriculum that is enhanced by a 1:1 laptop program. Considered a national ed-tech thought leader, Lehmann spearheaded the drive to expand the SLA model to a second Philadelphia high school last year. He recently co-founded the non-profit Inquiry Schools with the mission of expanding the inquiry-driven approach to more schools.

Sara Martinez Tucker

CEO, National Math + Science Initiative

Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO, National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI), is the winner of the 2014 National Leadership Prize. As the leader of the Dallas-based non-profit, Tucker seeks to improve teacher effectiveness and student performance in the critical subjects of science, math, technology and engineering, particularly among minority students and women. She has served as Under Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush, as well as head of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where she fought to raise academic expectations among Latino families and communities to increase the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees.

The 2014 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education winners represent the best innovative research and tactics being used worldwide to identify and narrow achievement gaps across the educational spectrum. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished independent board of judges from the education community.

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