Mark Zuckerberg Learns about Public Education in Newark!

Dear Commons Community,

In 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg made a $100 million donation to the Newark public schools.  In partnership with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the goal was to make Newark a national model for turning around urban schools.  Five years later, it is generally acknowledged that while there have been some improvements, Newark cannot in anyway be considered a model.  The Zuckerberg, Christie, Booker public school saga is well documented in a book, The Prize by Dale Russakoff that was published earlier this year.

In a recent Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s using lessons learned in Newark about the need for community involvement in his next effort in California.

“It’s very important to understand the desires of a community, to listen and learn from families, teachers, elected officials and other experts,” he wrote. “We now better understand why it can take years to build the support to durably cement the changes needed to provide every student with a high quality education.”

Last year, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced a $120 million donation to improve education in the San Francisco Bay area, particularly for low-income students.

He said the goal going forward is to work with people across the spectrum, including district schools, charter schools, private schools, teachers, parents, unions and other philanthropists.

“Change in education takes time and requires a long term focus. We are committed to working to improve public education for many years to come, and to improving our approach as we go,” he wrote.

We wish him and his wife success in San Francisco.




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