Elsewhere online
May 13, 2014

4 Years Later, Debate Clouds Zuckerberg's Gift to Newark Schools

The origin and progress of a $100-million donation to the school system of Newark, N.J., in 2010 by the head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is detailed in an exhaustive New Yorker feature. The project was intended to be a national model for  education reform.

The 11,600-word article by Dale Russakoff, featuring a rare interview with Mr. Zuckerberg, recounts how the Internet mogul met with Cory Booker, then the mayor of Newark,  and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to negotiate the gift, and the subsequent disputes over how the money was spent, the role of charter schools, and what critics said was a dearth of transparency and public input in the reform efforts.

Since the gift was announced, Newark has hired 50 new principals, built four new public high schools, and secured a contract with teachers that ties pay to performance, a key goal of Mr. Zuckerberg. About  $20-million from him and other donors, however, has gone to consulting firms, and despite the philanthropic infusion, the system has faced budget deficits and layoffs, as well as a parental backlash over plans that would require thousands of students to switch schools.