Posted on September 23rd, 2010 No comments
In a move announced yesterday that could have resounding ramifications to the school system in Newark, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged a $100 million grant to help overhaul the ailing school district which has been under state control since 1995. Gov. Chris Christie will actually give control of the school system to Newark mayor, Cory Booker, in a televised event during tomorrow’s Oprah Winfrey Show. Zuckerberg will also join the guests to talk about his donation. Booker envisions expanding the network of charter schools and improving achievement standards as some of the goals of the grant, which can be matched by a fundraiser hosted by Booker, according to NJ.com.
It is definitely a crucial time for Newark schools as the city spend $20,000 each for its 40,000 students, but only half graduate, and of those, only 1/5 go to 4-year colleges, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many advocates would like to see new methods put into action, like copying the successes of other schools and introducing innovative ideas, as stated by a recent Forbes post. $100 million is truly a great way to kick-start change and with the continued support of parents, administrators, advocacy groups and partners like READS, impactful and profound reform can become a reality.
This is a first in a series of posts about the Newark grant. Follow READS, a leader in nonprofit real estate and charter school facilities development, as we continue to report on this important topic.
Posted on September 22nd, 2010 No comments
A piece in last week’s Time magazine brought the state of education in the country to the forefront. It cited the need for immediate reform as per pupil spending is increasing but math and science levels are strongly lagging behind other developed nations. What’s worse is that today’s students will have lower literacy rates compared to the previous generation. The article also ties into the release of the new documentary, Waiting for Superman (opening nationwide on Oct 1), which chronicles five students and their families as they try to leave under-performing schools to get into charter schools with records of success. The film shows how charters are succeeding because of different ways of delivering education and how many are outperforming traditional counterpart schools.
Some of the concerns around change and reform are the role of teachers and how approaches to education have changed little in past decades. The process and the system, though, are complex as stated by the director, Davis Guggenheim, who also directed An Inconvenient Truth, when he said “this is the hardest movie we’ve made, by a factor of 10.” Education reform is indeed a complex issue, but it is crucial that policy changes are enacted so we can continue to be globally competitive and creative well into the 21st Century. Please click here to read the full article and click here to find out more information about the documentary as well as showtimes.