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WGU President Receives McGraw Prize in Education

THREE INNOVATORS HONORED WITH THE 23RD ANNUAL PRIZE: Christopher Cerf, Co-Creator of Sesame Street & Between the Lions; Larry Rosenstock, Principal and Founder, High Tech High; and Dr. Robert Mendenhall, President, Western Governors University.

Sep 27, 2010

New York, NY — The 2010 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education honors Christopher Cerf, Larry Rosenstock and Robert Mendenhall for creating educational ideas that work and scaling them up to improve student achievement. Announced today by Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies, the honorees will be recognized this evening at a dinner at the New York Public Library.

“There are many remarkable and innovative educators in America but there are only a few who have transformed learning and created reforms that will stand the test of time,” said Mr. McGraw. “Through the power of children’s television, creative school design and accessible, online learning, this year’s winners have done just that and benefited the lives of countless students.”

The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to creating a smarter, better world. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished Board of Judges from the education community and receive a gift of $25,000 and a bronze sculpture. The Prize was established in 1988 to honor the late Mr. McGraw’s lifelong commitment to education and to mark the Corporation’s 100th anniversary.

2010 McGraw Prize Winners:

Pre-K and Elementary Education: Christopher Cerf is a creator of the acclaimed children’s television show, Between the Lions, which has consistently demonstrated remarkable success at helping kids – especially the poor and minority children at the highest risk of literacy failure – learn to read. Mr. Cerf applied the techniques he helped hone on Sesame Street to older students and then expanded its reach beyond television into a collection of resources for literacy instruction, including print materials, Web-based activities and classroom interventions. Between the Lions has appeared on PBS for nine seasons and received 10 Emmy Awards.

Secondary Education: Larry Rosenstock is the CEO and founding principal of High Tech High (HTH). A very literal example of scaling up, HTH has grown from one school to 10 in the last decade and is approved to open up to 48 schools in California. Serving a diverse student population that is selected by a blind zip-code based lottery, over 60 percent of students are racial or ethnic minorities and 25 percent are low-income. Nearly all HTH graduates are accepted to college. About 80 percent pursue bachelor’s degrees and about 35 percent were the first in their families to attend college. The innovative and high-achieving charter schools emphasize student projects, real-world problem-solving assignments and internships with local businesses and community organizations.

Post-Secondary Education: Dr. Robert Mendenhall established Western Governors University (WGU), an innovative online university that offers the flexibility, accessibility and affordability to make college degrees widely attainable. WGU has 20,000 students in all 50 states, and continues to grow more than 30 percent annually. WGU’s competency-based degrees allow students to earn degrees by demonstrating competency – what they know and can do – rather than by accumulating a certain number of credit or clock hours. The average student works full time and is 36 years old. More than 80 percent are classified as underserved. Undergraduate tuition is less than $5,800 per year, and has increased by only $200 in the past four years. WGU was founded and is supported by 19 governors as well as more than 20 leading corporations and foundations.

Previous Winners:

The 2009 McGraw Prize honorees were: Sarita E. Brown, President, Excelencia in Education; Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University; and Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut. Other previous honorees include Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone, Wendy Kopp of Teach for America and Judith Berry Griffin of Pathways to College. View a full list of previous honorees at:

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at

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