Mark Zuckerberg Gave New Jersey $100 Million To Fix Newark's Schools, And It Looks Like It Was A Waste
In the fall of 2010, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oprah that he'd be making a generous gift to Newark, New Jersey.Isn't that what we're always hearing? We need to invest in education. Teachers should be paid more. Children are our future. Aren't these the kinds of things that the left loves to trot out? Aren't these the same tired cliches we've heard for decades? Throw in the one about it being a good day when education has all the money it needs and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber and you've got the perfect storm of platitudes.
As Oprah said in her Oprah way, "one ... hundred ... million ... dollars" would be given to Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the three began the Startup:Education foundation.
The plan was to turn Newark into what Zuckerberg called "a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation," spent on retaining the best teachers, and creating environments that would produce successful students and, one day, graduates.
Between 2010 and 2012, The New Yorker reports that "more than twenty million dollars of Zuckerberg’s gift and matching donations went to consulting firms with various specialties: public relations, human resources, communications, data analysis, [and] teacher evaluation." Many of the consultants were being paid upwards of $1,000 a day.Got that? Twenty million dollars was blown on consultants without a damn thing to show for it. The project was shuttered, not a single child was bettered, and the program was forced to close early after two years, with $20 million wasted. Oh, consultants were paid handily, but it doesn't seem to have translated into, well, anything.
So, no, we don't need more money. Newark was already spending more per pupil than most other school districts before Zuckerberg came along with the magic Facebook fairy dollars. With a hundred million smackers on the line, that should have hired hundreds of teachers, bought thousands of computers for classrooms, and made all kinds of difference.
But instead, cronies were rewarded, money was squandered, and the kids were the true losers.
That is all.