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Facebook 'likes' Newark schools. Now what? Invest wisely, Zuckerberg.

Newark schools need real change, not just the kind in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s piggy bank.


Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, second from left, poses with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (l.), Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (second from r.) and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, during a live broadcast of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' on Friday, in Chicago. Zuckerberg pledged to set up a foundation to donate $100 million to Newark's schools over the next five years.

George Burns/Harpo Productions, Inc./AP

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just ponied up $100 million for the chronically failing Newark, N.J., public schools. Newark already spends $22,000 per year (twice the national average) on each of its 40,000 students, yet less than half graduate. That means the tab for each graduate's time in high school is – take a breath, dear taxpayer – more than $160,000. So will $100 million make a difference? Maybe – if Mr. Zuckerberg focuses it on what really counts.

Some tips: Put simply, teachers rule. Learning in any building rises or falls on the motivation, commitment, and talent of teachers. Yes, a student must want to learn, the parent(s) at home must back up the school each day, and a principal must maintain order. But the yellow brick road to an educated citizen is a series of competent, inspiring teachers using an enlightened curriculum.


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