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Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 Million School Push In Newark, Stalled

Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie and Cory Booker launched a 100-million-dollar campaign to fix the schools of Newark, New Jersey. The money’s gone. The schools aren’t fixed. What happened?

In this file photo released by Facebook, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, center, is joined by Cory A. Booker, left, the Mayor of Newark, N.J., and N.J. Governor Chris Christie, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 in Newark, N.J. at a news conference detailing a $100 million deal with New Jersey schools that Zuckerberg and Booker announced earlier in the week. (AP)

In this file photo released by Facebook, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, center, is joined by Cory A. Booker, left, the Mayor of Newark, N.J., and N.J. Governor Chris Christie, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 in Newark, N.J. at a news conference detailing a $100 million deal with New Jersey schools that Zuckerberg and Booker announced earlier in the week. (AP)

 

It was right there on Oprah.  All the promise in the world and a pot of gold for the schools of Newark, New Jersey.  September, 2010.  There was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker.  Saying on Oprah they were going to fix Newark’s failing schools.  Make a model for the nation.  And Zuckerberg was throwing in $100 million to make it happen.  Now the money’s gone and the schools aren’t fixed.  What happened?  This hour On Point:  fixing failing schools, and how Mark Zuckerberg got schooled in Newark, New Jersey.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ted Sherman, staff writer at the Star-Ledger. Author of “The Jersey String: Chris Christie and the Most Brazen Case of Jersey-Style Corruption — Ever.” (@TedShermanSL)

Dale Russakoff, freelance reporter. Author of “Schooled,” featured in this week’s issue of the New Yorker. (@dalerussakoff)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: Schooled — “Booker had been a champion of vouchers and charter schools for Newark since he was elected to the city council, in 1998, and now he wanted to overhaul the school district. He would need Christie’s help. The Newark schools had been run by the state since 1995, when a judge ended local control, citing corruption and neglect.”

Star-Ledger: Ras Baraka declares victory in Newark mayoral election — “Ras Baraka, a councilman and fiery community activist who campaigned on the vow to ‘take back Newark’ from outsiders, was elected mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in decisive fashion Tuesday night, declaring victory before the votes were even fully counted.”

Washington Post: Are school closings the ‘new Jim Crow’? Activists file civil rights complaints — “In Newark, 13 public schools have closed since 2009. In Chicago, 111 schools have closed since 2001. In New Orleans, all the traditional public schools except five have shut down since 2003. The District of Columbia has closed 39 traditional public schools since 2008. Those shuttered schools have been replaced by public charter schools, which are funded by taxpayers but are privately operated.Teachers in charter schools typically are not unionized.”

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