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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Facebook v. teachers' unions

It's been in the news that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, offered $100 million to the Newark Public Schools. Thanks to Wolf Files now we know the rest of the story:
The buzz around Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to the Newark public schools has focused on whether he is trying to offset bad publicity caused by a new feature -length film about him.

What has been overlooked is the fact that one of the world’s up and coming tech industry celebrity leaders has come out in support of education reforms being championed by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has unabashedly gone head to head with teacher unions.

It is a noteworthy development in an ongoing national debate over education. The head of what is arguably the world’s most dominant social media website – which has tremendous cultural cache and reach among young people in particular – has put his support behind a Republican politician who has said teacher unions are the most significant obstacle to true education reform.

Zuckerberg himself, and Facebook as a company, are not antagonistic toward unions like Christie is. The governor’s rhetoric and Zuckerberg’s at a joint press conference with Newark Mayor Corey Booker were markedly different on the issue, according to those present.
...
who was connected with Christie through Booker after meeting the mayor this summer, said explicitly that he chose to give to Newark because of the distinct approach to education reform being pioneered by the political odd couple.

“Newark is really just because I believe in these guys,” Zuckerberg said.
I had to take a look at Zuckerberg's statement about his donation and I really like this one:
There are many different challenges all facing education at once. Teaching needs to be more respected and revered as a career. School districts need more autonomy and clearer leadership so they can be managed more like startups than like government bureaucracies. And outside the classroom, we need to support students' interests, give them a safe environment to grow up in, and keep everyone healthy.
I wonder if this means that Zuckerberg supports charter schools.Well I never thought of it this was public school districts as startups. Which school or district might be able to better educate the children or better yet can private schools do a better job than the public.

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