A Tech Millionaire, A Failing School System and $100 million

Philanthropic efforts are not always successful, we know this because the proof is in the report pudding. One major example of failed philanthropic efforts, in this case due to mismanagement of funds is the criticism fired at the International Red Cross over the missing $500 million donation to Haiti.

In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg in partnership with Newark’s Cory Booker and a very excited Oprah Winfrey announced on national television, much to the disbelief of all future persons involved (Newark school administrators, parents and teachers) a new philanthropic effort to boost Newark Public schools with a $100 million donation.

Four years later, reports show that this effort has failed, and this failure is reflected in the failure of the initiative to involve the people of Newark in planning these efforts, decreased student performance and a lack of knowledge surrounding the Newark school system and public administration.

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On the flip side of the coin, the effort was successful in increasing the number of Newark children within the charter school system. The initiative was also successful in improving a new teachers accountability contract, which holds teachers and school administrators to the goal of helping children grow and learn.
Despite these improvements, critics again point to studies which reflect the failure of this initiative in contending with internal factors like budget cuts, which only decreased student performance in a time where it should have improved. if teachers  and their salaries are being cut, how will students have more access to education?

In the view of the public, what could possibly have happened, again, to such a large sum of money? With no detailed response yet from Mark Zuckerberg of Cory Booker, while we wait we must remind ourselves on what prerequisite measures we need to make when dealing with philanthropy. The question remains, how can we be sure that effective spending is exacted where large philanthropic donations are involved?

If you would like to know more about the Zuckerberg donation story, visit this detailed article by The Washington Post