Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are granting $120 million to public schools in San Francisco’s Bay Area to improve the quality of public education in the world’s technology capital, according to Business Insider.
The announcement arrives just four years after Zuckerberg launched the education startup with an infusion of $100 million into Newark, New Jersey’s academically deficient public schools, which then-mayor Corey Booker was leading.
Booker, who is now a U.S. Senator, has been asked about where the funds have gone, as Newark’s abysmal school performance remains at an all-time low.
Zuckerberg said the $120 million, which he plans on dispensing over a five-year period, will go towards providing computers and Internet access to students; training teachers; and getting parents more involved in their children’s academic performance.
The creation of a new school district and new charter schools is also part of the planned investment in a region that is one of the world’s most prosperous, yet has a large population which suffers from a lack of resources, according to the Insider.
Zuckerberg noted that “the investments we’ve made are a drop in the bucket compared to the challenges schools face,” and highlighted his and wife Priscilla’s intent to “change” the often dismal quality of education throughout “our country and our community,” the Insider notes. The couple met during their time at Harvard.
Despite Zuckerberg’s admission that he knew very little about urban education reform at the time he launched Startup: Education in 2010, he seems optimistic for what he hopes to achieve in the Bay Area: “We’ve seen that targeted investments can be catalysts for much bigger changes in communities,” he said.