Real billionaires aren’t conservatives…
In his first major act of public philanthropy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to donate $100 million to the public school system in Newark, N.J., a troubled and crime-ridden city across the Hudson River from New York. The formal announcement will reportedly come Friday on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, where Zuckerberg will be joined by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will formally cede some control of the Newark school system to Booker’s municipal administration.
Zuckerberg’s reasons for choosing the Newark public school system are not completely clear; he hails from the New York City metro area, but the Times reported that his connection to Newark derives from having met and connected with Booker, a young, charismatic, and high-profile reform politician.
Forbes estimates that Zuckerberg is now worth $6.9 billion, putting him seven spots above Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is estimated to be worth $6.1 billion, ranking 42 on Forbes’ list.
The potential donation would amount to over 20% of Newark’s budget of $940 million.
Newark spends about $22,000 a year on each of its 40,000 pupils, but only about half of its students graduate. Of those who do, only one-fifth go on to four-year colleges. More than 85% of the Newark students at community colleges need remedial help in math and English.
Foundations and wealthy investors have been recently donating large sums of money into education to make changes. The money usually comes in exchange for something like increased pay for teachers or measures to make sure teachers are effective.