Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has decided to create a $100 Million Foundation — Startup: Education — to improve student success starting with Newark, New Jersey. On Friday’s Oprah Winfrey Show, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker launched the Partnership for Education in Newark to improve public education with the support of Zuckerberg.
Governor Christie and Mayor Booker have committed to a bipartisan initiative to ensure every school-aged child in Newark has access to a high-quality education that prepares them for a successful future and a better quality of life.
To begin this new partnership, the Governor has authorized Mayor Booker to work with the local community to develop and implement a comprehensive education plan for the future of the Newark Public School District, based on clear standards and metrics that reward excellence in teaching, school leadership and student achievement.
The plan will be carried out under the Mayor’s leadership over the next few years.
To support these efforts, Zuckerberg announced the creation of a new foundation – Startup: Education — with an initial gift of $100 million to improve educational opportunities for young people in America.
The foundation’s first project will be to measurably improve academic achievement for Newark students and create a national model for rewarding excellence in education.
Mayor Booker has also announced the creation of the Newark Education and Youth Development Fund, a separate non-profit organization whose goal is to secure an additional $100 million to match the challenge grant available through Zuckerberg’s foundation, as well as an additional $50 million to serve disaffected youth.
The Newark Public School District, with a student population of more than 40,000, is the largest school system in New Jersey. In 2008-2009, only 40 percent of students could read and write at grade level by the end of third grade, only 54 percent of high school students graduated and just 38 percent enrolled in college.
The size of the school district, the determination of the community and the scope of the grant create an opportunity to improve the educational environment for the city’s students.
“Mayor Booker and Governor Christie refuse to accept the status quo in public education,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook.
“They insist on demanding more for young people now so that they will be fully prepared for success in college, careers and in life. Their personal commitments – and their willingness to cut through the politics and red tape to collaborate – persuaded me to support them and make a commitment of my own.”
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. U.S., Facebook is an online social networking platform. It was formed in 2004 and now it claims to have over 500 million users.
To contribute to the Partnership for Education in Newark, you can visit http://www.startupeducation.org
Photo courtesy: Facebook