Facebook Founder to Donate $100 Million to Help Remake Newark's Public Schools, by Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times, September 22, 2010.
Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook, recently offered up a $100 million grant to Newark Public Schools. Announcing the gift, Zuckerberg told Oprah (who, in her show’s waning days, has suddenly acquired a keen interest in education) that he singled out Newark Mayor Cory Booker as a strong change-agent who, he deemed, was worth the investment. The gift has created quite a stir around the Brick City: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has happily bequeathed virtually all control of Newark schools—which has unsuccessfully lingered under state purview for the last fifteen years—to Booker, while Booker must raise matching dollars to get Zuckerberg’s dough. History says Booker is pretty good at bringing money to Newark; what remains to be seen is how well he’ll spend it. He’s got Zuckerberg’s vote of confidence, at least. Gadfly wonders, though, why all these smart folks think education miracles will follow the arrival of still more money in a school system that already spends $22,000 per pupil and gets not one iota of return on the dollar.