The announcement, made in the Bay Area paper on
Thursday night, marks Zuckerberg's latest charitable donation to
lagging public education systems. In 2010, the tech tycoon
donated $100 million to beleaguered public schools in Newark,
"The investments we've made are a drop in the bucket compared to
the challenges schools face. But we've seen that targeted
investments can be catalysts for much bigger changes in
communities, and give vital support to leaders and
organizations," the couple said.
"Helping improve the quality of public education in this country
is something we both really care about."
The essay cited the Ravenswood school district in particular,
which is slated to receive grant money when the first $5 million
is released, where last year fewer than half of the students
were rate as proficient in math and fewer than 40 percent were
proficient in English.
The two noted that low-income and minority students in the
region struggle to perform well in the classroom, due in part to
a lack of school resources.
The money will be routed through the Startup:Education fund with
the aim of providing computers and internet connectivity to
needy schools, offering teacher training, and helping to fund
new district and charter schools among other initiatives.
Critics however have questioned the effectiveness of
Zuckerberg's past philanthropic endeavors. A recent article in
The New Yorker outlined problems that continue to plague the
Newark school system despite the $100 million donation.
"Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read,” Vivian
Cox Fraser, president of the Urban League of Essex County, told
The New Yorker.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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