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Zuckerberg's $100 Million Education Gift Solved Little

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.

Education 335

An anonymous reader writes "In 2010 the state of public education in Newark, New Jersey was dire. The city's school system was a disaster, replete with violence, run-down buildings, and a high-school graduation rate of only 54%. Newark's mayor at the time, Cory Booker, teamed up with governor Chris Christie to turn the schools around. At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg was looking to get his feet wet in big-time philanthropy. The three hatched a plan, and Zuckerberg committed $100 million to reforming the schools. Four years later, most of the money is gone, and Newark's children are still struggling. Tens of millions were spent on consulting groups, and yet more went to union negotiations. Plans to change how teacher seniority affected staffing decisions — in order to reward results rather than persistence — were dashed by political maneuvering. The New Yorker provides a detailed account in a lengthy piece of investigative journalism, and MSN provides a summary."

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Breaking news (4, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#46994893)

Rich man donating large sums of cash to education system shocked to find systems flaws are of great complexity and cannot be solved by simply shitting large sums of money into education. When reached for comment, Rich man was found paralyzed by indecisiveness during elusive hunt for tasty caviar on weekend aboard mega yacht.

Re:Breaking news (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 6 months ago | (#46994917)

...consulting groups, and yet more went to union negotiations...

So that's how the consultants told them to spend the money...

Re:Breaking news (4, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46994991)

If you think taxpayer-funded governmental programs are rife with waste and inefficiency, you're probably correct.

Imagine that! Giving the same folks more money above and beyond taxes didn't improve things even marginally.

Not to take anything away from what I believe is a magnanimous gesture by Zuck, but perhaps a college scholarship program would better serve the needs of inner city youths.

Re:Breaking news (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995133)

- - - - - If you think taxpayer-funded governmental programs are rife with waste and inefficiency, you're probably correct. - - - - -

I don't, no. Compared to other large-scale human endeavors decently funded universal public school districts receiving strong societal support are among the most efficient institutions known to man.

But compared to for-profit charter "schools"? Public schools - even the really bad ones - are havens of efficiency and good results.

sPh

Re:Breaking news (1, Interesting)

gewalker (57809) | about 6 months ago | (#46995191)

And charter schools ARE public schools. Yes, some are clearly even worse than the regular gov. schools, in particular some of the money sucking for-profit version. Some charter schools are also clearly better.

Thanks for playing anyway.

Re:Breaking news (2, Informative)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995257)

- - - - - And charter schools ARE public schools - - - - -

"Charter schools" were specifically designed by an alliance of hard right wing radicals and religionists of one religion to destroy not only the concept of universal free public schooling but the very infrastructure of the schools, the buildings, and the systems that support them. So no, "charter schools" are not public schools.

Nice try though.

sPh

Re:Breaking news (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46995275)

In my district, the charter schools directly take the money for a student that would have gone to the public school. It's public money, not private money. You may or may not be right about the ambitions of the people who created charters, but they are definitely not private schools.

Re:Breaking news (4, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995347)

- - - - - but they are definitely not private schools.- - - - -

Technically, some states do give charter funds directly to what were historically considered private schools. Although see Louisiana for why the charter crowd turned out not to be so happy with the consequences of that one.

But that's not my point. I didn't say that "charter schools" were private. Some are, most aren't. But "charter schools" are not part of a universal free (and equal) public school system, and are in fact specifically designed to destroy free universal equal schooling. So charters are in no way shape or form public schools. You might want to check back with your private school logic teacher for a bit of a tune up.

sPh

This can be confirmed by what happens when charter schools fail: their students are sent back to "the public schools" - namely the local universal public school district.

Re:Breaking news (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 6 months ago | (#46995285)

Trouble is he didn't bother to identify the source of the problem first. The east coast is dirty politics and Mafia rule to the very core. He might as well have given the money to a drug dealer instead, the outcomes wouldn't be much different.

Re:Breaking news (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 6 months ago | (#46995319)

shocked to find systems flaws are of great complexity and cannot be solved by simply shitting large sums of money into education.

Hmm, wow, perhaps we could draw some sort of broader conclusion from th ... ow, ow, the down mods, it burns!

Re:Breaking news (4, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 6 months ago | (#46995379)

Not that it's surprising. It's about the most American concept in existence: ignore a problem chronically until ignoring it further would cause chaos... then smother it with money and hope it goes away.

The education system
The financial crisis
The war on drugs
The war on terrorism
(goddamn, America loves its wars)

No real plan, no forethought, just vulturous agencies and contractors circling the poor starving bastard, waiting to feast on that juicy pile of cash that they know will come soon enough.

Show me a national problem where this response isn't the default.

Dear Mark (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46994901)

Thank you for your attempt. Next time hire me to handle it and come up with a plan based on set goals and achievements.

Re:Dear Mark (1, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46994953)

- - - - - Next time hire me to handle it and come up with a plan based on set goals and achievements. - - - - -

In other words, the way dedicated and capable public school teachers have been handling it in the United States for 275 years. Good plan.

sPh

Re:Dear Mark (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995035)

teachers aren't the problem, and the goals and achievement I am talking about are about improving the school and teaching process. Objective measurement about the tools, use and progress. Not replace the manager and everything will be fine.
Something the cheaply measure progress, and allow the teacher to set progression goals with the plan as aggressive at any specific student can handle.

Re:Dear Mark (3, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995099)

- - - - - Objective measurement about the tools, use and progress. Not replace the manager and everything will be fine.
Something the cheaply measure progress, and allow the teacher to set progression goals with the plan as aggressive at any specific student can handle. - - - - -

Two points: the hideously counterproductive NCLB went into effect in 2002, and there has been enormous amounts of work done on testing and reporting numerically consistent results since that date. In some lower-performing school districts children now spend very large amounts of time per year taking tests (I've heard up to 20% of total school time, although that's probably an exaggeration). So whether those systems are good or bad, well-designed and managed or not, the one good result is that it is not possible in 2014 to argue that there are no standardized standards or reported numerical "metrics" for public education (many categories of private schools and of course homeschoolers being exempt from this testing, natch). If you have a better standardized evaluation system by all means form a company or nonprofit and start selling it, but let's not pretend that evaluation isn't occurring.

Second point: the entire job of a teacher, particularly a K-8 teacher, is to evaluate students and set good progression goals for that student. That's what they do all day, every day. I'm sorry if you personally had some K-12 teachers who missed that mark (I'm not saying there aren't some at the lower end of the capability distribution - stats says there will be), but the vast majority of teachers I've met work very hard to do just that and are quite good at it.

sPh

Re:Dear Mark (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46995297)

I agree with you - the vast majority of teachers are very good and almost all work very hard. But just like any occupation, you have a few outliers. My beef with the public school system is that these outliers are protected as if they are just as valuable as the others. The teachers unions would earn a lot more respect from me if they thinned the herd a bit.

Re:Dear Mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995383)

Of course, you don't meet those teachers in the context of teacher->student.

A person's effort and sincere willingness to do good have never really been a good measure of actual performance in any era.

Re:Dear Mark (4, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 6 months ago | (#46995349)

Dear Geekoid, Do you really think Mark didn't have that sort of thing in mind? That he didn't pay the consultants to come up with such things? I'm afraid teachers are a large part of the problem. Their unions consistently thwart attempts to address teacher performance or rather the lack thereof. Do a search on the various attempts to deal with bad teachers and you will find attempts that have nearly all failed by the hands of the teacher's unions.

Re:Dear Mark (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46995047)

- - - - - Next time hire me to handle it and come up with a plan based on set goals and achievements. - - - - -

In other words, the way dedicated and capable public school teachers have been handling it in the United States for 275 years. Good plan.

sPh

We haven't HAD dedicated OR capable public school teachers in about 275 years.

Re:Dear Mark (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995097)

That's bullshit. Public education in the US used to be the best in the world, right up to about 1969, when all the taxes got slashed. It took a decade to start to see the results, and here we are.,

Re:Dear Mark (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46995311)

You can't blame this on overall funding levels - the US spends more than just about any other nation on public education. Funding is uneven, however.

We have very serious structural problems with our education system that more money will not solve.

Re:Dear Mark (2, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995213)

- - - - - We haven't HAD dedicated OR capable public school teachers in about 275 years. - - - - -

An brief examination of the list of Americans who have graduated from New York City public schools alone belies that sweeping statement. The United States has an overall very good public schools with - unfortunately - a few very bad spots. And there are hundreds of thousands of dedicated and very good public school teachers in the US to match. Your statement is the sort of baloney that makes glibertarians look utterly foolish.

sPH

Re:Dear Mark (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46995363)

Ah, you assume capability and dedication.

Sorry my friend, society no longer works that way.

Re:Dear Mark (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46994981)

> Next time hire me to handle it

Sounds like an example of the Dunning - Kruger effect.

Re:Dear Mark (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995017)

Based on what I read, he set thew wrong goals and had little oversight once the match was made.

If there is something I missed, please let me know.

That said, I can come up with a plan that would help every child in that school today, and every day.
Well, I already have one, so 'come up with' isn't quite correct.

Thanks for calling me out if I missed something!

Re:Dear Mark (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46995137)

You can do anything you want in school. It won't work if the society outside the school is completely dysfunctional.

Bill Cosby had it right.

http://www.snopes.com/politics... [snopes.com]

Re:Dear Mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995345)

Based on what I read, he set thew wrong goals and had little oversight once the match was made.

For shame! You read TFA? And you with a low six figure /. ID? Go stand in the corner!

Re:Dear Mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995053)

You mean he should hire you as a consultant, rather than one of those other consultants he hired, because you advertise that you can do it better?. And that will somehow solve the problem?

Imagine that! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46994905)

Throwing money at every problem doesn't make it go away. Who woulda thunk it?
 
While I appreciate the research potential of this experiment I just don't think people are looking at the human element when it comes to social problems like education and welfare. Our politicians don't seek a better answer because they don't care that people are wasting their lives on reality TV and booze as long as they get their pockets lined from it.

rich people go back to paying taxes? (4, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 6 months ago | (#46994907)

there was a time when they paid more taxes, and they were still rich (and also employed many others in this same country).

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46994977)

And the American student has more money spent on his today than any other country at any other time in history and we're still graduating thugs and illiterates. But don't let those facts stop you as you look for another reason to bash the rich.

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995085)

So you just repeat what the media tells you? well done.

in 1969, the average spending was $4,221 per student, per year.
the $27,176.91 in today's dollars. We spend about 40% of that.

Spending on kids has gone down.

Why? becasue the tax decrease since then. Look at all the data, the only reason not to go back to 1968 tax rates(adj. for inflation) is pure and simple greed for the top 1%.

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995199)

Bullshit lies. I can cite [ed.gov] facts. Can you?

The dollar isn't worth as much as it used to be? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 6 months ago | (#46995245)

Which if any of the graphs on that ed.gov page are adjusted for inflation?

Re:The dollar isn't worth as much as it used to be (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46995329)

Which if any of the graphs on that ed.gov page are adjusted for inflation?

The ones which say "Constant Dollars".

The Newark School District gets more money per pupil than the suburban school districts surrounding it. And its outcomes are far worse. It's not the money.

Re:The dollar isn't worth as much as it used to be (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46995333)

The one that says "constant dollars".

Re:The dollar isn't worth as much as it used to be (3, Informative)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 6 months ago | (#46995423)

According to the parent page [ed.gov] , the chart for per-pupil spending is already adjusted for inflation. As such, the $4,221 per student figure in 1969 looks to be close to the truth, except that it's *already* adjusted for inflation at that value.

As much as I would like to have a simple explanation like "spending is less than half what it used to be", the numbers don't lie.

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (0)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about 6 months ago | (#46995251)

Heard of inflation? Should try it out

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (2)

gewalker (57809) | about 6 months ago | (#46995307)

Really? I have never seen any data to support your claim. The Kruger Dunning is about cognitive bias, not media reporting being flat-out lies.
Everything I have ever seen suggests current US inflation adjusted per student spending is about 200% of 1969 levels.

This article [intellectualtakeout.org] shows inflation both adjusted and non adjusted back to the 30s and the trend is up up up though there are some minor dips along the way. And the numbers here are consistent with government sources, etc.

Frankly, I think you are as wrong as possible in this case -- In fact, you are non-sensical. Had property taxes been that high in the 60's there would have been plenty of well-known confirming information.

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (3, Interesting)

Vidar Leathershod (41663) | about 6 months ago | (#46995387)

Here in my upstate NY town, we spend $27,000 per student per year, almost on the nose. I just looked quickly at the cost of prep schools. Rutgers Preparatory was one of the first results from Google. It's yearly tuition is $28,240. They have a little over half of the enrollment of our school district. Tell me again how spending on kids has gone down, and tell me how we are going to improve their education by spending more money?

You could take each class year (90 students per class year), hire 9 teachers, for 10 students per teacher, and get:

a 1 million dollar building (more than what you need, and only need to buy it once every 40 years)
2 full time custodial staff at $90,000 total compensation per custodian
$200,000 yearly maintenance/heat/electric on the building.
and pay those teachers 116,500 per year in total compensation.

Now, if you would like to add some features, go ahead and do so. I think I am being very generous with the million dollar property. After all, you could spend 1 million more each year on property and buildings and still not have an issue excepting increased maintenance costs, and that's just for the kindergarteners. I'm sure you have a much more nuanced understanding of what is needed to educate our children. Why don't you enlighten us further?

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995081)

This wouldn't have worked any better. The problem is that the government wastes its money with no result.

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (2)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46995181)

So apparently did the private sector

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995243)

How is that possible?! They brought in the best and the brightest outside contractors to consult, and the private sector is awesome at everything!!1!

Re:rich people go back to paying taxes? (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#46995211)

Same problem will often happen though if the government spends the $100 million instead of the rich guy. Anyone spending the money should first make sure that it's going to be spent well. Otherwise it is way too easy to misspend. Give money to your local elementary school, then find out it was all spend on new paint jobs, resurfacing parking lots, and all the other stuff they've been putting off, but no extra money spent on teachers or smaller class sizes or new DRM-free textbooks.

Best bet for the nouveau riche is to find a charity that is already working and with a proven record, and either give them money directly or ask them what similar charities need help. Worst idea is to team up with a politician, even a large one that you believe in.

MSN (1)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about 6 months ago | (#46994929)

Who the fuck links to MSN? Sponsored much?

Re:MSN (3, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#46995219)

MSN is still around? That should be a news story in itself.

Technically (3, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46994931)

- - - - - — in order to reward results rather than persistence — - - - - -

If my inferior public school education is any guide, I believe that is technically known as "begging the question". There was no evidence beforehand that there are significant problems with US K-12 education on average, but there was and is absolutely zero evidence that the vast majority of teachers weren't already working hard 'to achieve results' before Grover Norquist and Michelle Rhee got involved to "improve" the situation. On the other hand, there is over 100 years of evidence as to why schools tend to evolve toward seniority systems (hint: not to protect "incompetent" teachers), all of which was ignored.

sPh

Re:Technically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995079)

There was no evidence beforehand that there are significant problems with US K-12 education on average

A grand majority of schools are little more than one-size-fits-all rote memorization factories. Our poorly-designed standardized tests just make those problems even worse.

I honestly don't know how anyone can deny that significant problems exist. Are they relying on awful measurements such as grades, or certain test scores, or what?

Re:Technically (5, Informative)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46995197)

When I went to school we had shop as well as math, art as well as science, and PE as well as literature. Boondoggles such as "No Child Left Behind" changed that.

Re:Technically (1)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995265)

Yup. My inferior, decaying public high school offered five languages and a world-class music program. Guess what was cut first when the budgets were chopped?

sPh

Re:Technically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995461)

Let me guess.. They cut the world class music program and the music teacher became the math teacher?

Re:Technically (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46995145)

Anyone who is a parent with a kid in public education can see that there are flaws. The whole system is setup to reward CYA behavior. Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of educators are well meaning and pretty hard-working. But the system itself thwarts them. There is no reward for going above and beyond. There is no reward for reaching out to parents - quite the opposite, since this will make more work for you and increase your risks with absolutely no benefit to your own situation. Problem kids are kept in the system. The system is set up to assume that budgets will always increase - even a mild decrease results in mass hysteria. Construction is shoddy government lowest bidder crap, and maintenance is nonexistent.

I have my kids in public school to expose them to a diversity of classes and cultures... I feel that being able to relate to people not entirely like oneself is an important life skill. But there is definitely an allure to private schools, where the vast majority of the students are there to learn, most of the parents care enough to spend inordinate amounts of money on education, and the entire system is geared towards keeping your business and keeping those Ivy League acceptance rates up instead of ass-covering.

Posting as AC due to the flames this will earn (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46994939)

I'm not surprised a bit. Show me a teacher who gives a damn about his/her students and I'll show you a hundred who don't. Combined with an administration that just sees each head as a number, and even the most hippie head-in-the-clouds-I'm-going-to-change-the-world teacher will be worn down eventually.

And I'm not even going to get started on the parents--Jersey Shore, anyone?

Re:Posting as AC due to the flames this will earn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995231)

Nah, you won't bother to actually show a hundred. This is the attitude Mark has taken (rich, throws money around, no apparent expectation that it actually does good), which is why it is fail.

well its obvious... (5, Funny)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#46994945)

a multi-billionaire like Zuckerberg just didn't give enough.

a measly $100mil?? it should of course had been $500mil

THEN...the problems could really be solved!

What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46994971)

Imagine the 3D printers they could have bought instead? We'd have a whole generation of makers now! No one could resist our might, or our ketchup nozzles!

Re:What a waste (2)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46995215)

We could hook the printers to all the "One laptop per child" laptops.

Everybody likes to ignore the real reason (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46994985)

Now look, this isn't going to be popular. But when you pack that many niggers together, nothing good comes from it. They don't want to improve their shitty lives and we need to cut our losses. Even if you tack a few more zeros on the end of the donation, you can't fix their shitty attitudes, poor work ethics, and sense of entitlement.

Re:Everybody likes to ignore the real reason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995089)

If I ever meet you, I'll beat the living shit out of you. The real problem is people like you have been allowed to procreate. I would end that.

Re:Everybody likes to ignore the real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995277)

If I ever meet you, I'll beat the living shit out of you.

Since that would require you being crane-lifted out of the basement first it's probably not really much of a threat.

Re:Everybody likes to ignore the real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995421)

I guess we can just call it karma for all the centuries you ignorant hicks enslaved them, built a whole country on top of them, and basically had them do all the work for your comfy lifestyle.

Proverb (4, Funny)

McGruber (1417641) | about 6 months ago | (#46995007)

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

(Zuck should have Googled it).

Re:Proverb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995075)

So where's your fortune, McFaggot? Or did you spend all that money on gay dicks?

Re:Proverb (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46995171)

Ed, what an ugly thing to say.

I abhor ugliness.

Does this mean we're not friends any more?

Re: Proverb (1)

gTsiros (205624) | about 6 months ago | (#46995127)

I wish I was half the fool Zuckerberg is.

You do too, but you probably wouldn't admit it, even to yourself.

thank God and Greyhound he's gone (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 6 months ago | (#46995023)

bottom line: it ain't a MONEY thang.

American Education System is well funded (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995029)

We spend more on public education in America than any other country. Money is clearly not the problem unless you are talking about controlling waste spending and corruption. Liberal idealists cannot come to terms with the ideas of hard discipline and failing students who disrupt other students' education. Social liberals are too afraid of the politically correct reality that some students need to be held back. Instead they will bankrupt society to try to find any solution that doesn't cause people to "track" students. Tracking being the process of putting some kids into an honors level classroom and then failing others and holding them back. It's more politically correct to throw money at schools with horrid student bodies than admit that the problems have little to do with money.

Conservatives are generally no better. They preach fiscal responsibility but then privately take taxpayers and citizens to the cleaners to advance their own personal agendas and businesses. Chris Christie had no problem duping some morons out of $100 million just to get himself a nice photo opportunity and some good press. Christie and Booker knew that any donated money was free from public oversight. A con in broad daylight.

In America we pay the highest cost per capita for public schools. Our rewards as taxpayers? Graduation rates in the 50-60% range for large cities. Illegal immigrants using public schools as nothing more than free daycare centers. Kids who graduate with no skill sets and are churned out just so a school can keep its funding. Abandoning of once good public schools by wealthy citizenry who can afford to take their kids into a neighboring school system in the suburbs that actually is an environment of learning. Detroit is the future of lots of cities. Newark is another corrupt murder capital with crumbling schools yet billions to spend on solutions that never materialize.

If Christie, Booker, Zuck, and ever other smug douchebag wanted to really find a solution....they'd send their kids to these schools. If rich asshole politicians had kids in these schools you'd see no problems. If these liberal do-gooders had kids in these schools there would be far less problems.

Re:American Education System is well funded (2)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995183)

Guess it isn't as easy as it looks:

- - - - - - http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]
  Missouri’s Board of Education has decided to close six charter school campuses run by the Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc., the country’s largest for-profit charter network, saying that it “would be a disservice” to children to keep them open because of academic and fiscal issues.

Imagine, based in Arlington, operates more than 75 schools in more than a dozen states — including Maryland — and the District of Columbia. Its six school campuses in the St. Louis area have been the subject of stories in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that detailed complicated real estate deals through which the schools, which operated with public funds, generated millions of dollars for Imagine and a Kansas City-based real estate investment company.

The decision to close the schools at the end of the school year will mean that about 4,000 students will have to find a new school for next fall. A transition office is being set up to help families find new school placements, a statement from the Missouri Department of Education said. - - - - -

New schools were found for those children: they were sent back to their original public school districts, most of which had been badly damaged by the loss of the per-student payment when they were recruited for the "showcase" charters.

sPh

Re:American Education System is well funded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995441)

Maybe, just maybe, it's your society that is the problem. Since, if you aren't too ignorant to notice, the USA is the only one really having these problems.

Re:American Education System is well funded (1)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46995473)

Maybe, just maybe, it's your society that is the problem. Since, if you aren't too ignorant to notice, the USA is the only one really having these problems.

You wanna be more specific?

just pay the kids already. (5, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 6 months ago | (#46995037)

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the Department of Education should do studies on how to teach kids & how to motivate them to do better ... how public vs. private vs. charter schools affect them, etc.

And study what the long-term effects are of just paying the kids when they get good grades:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com... [usatoday.com]

Because the short term seems to be that they do better ... and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than most other things that people come up with. (but then again, the money doesn't go to some corportation with a great 'solution' to the problem)

Re:just pay the kids already. (3, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46995235)

Dept. of Ed. and others do fund research. The results are usually ignored as they do not fit in with people's world views or funding restrictions.

Unions and comitties (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46995043)

The problem with the education system in this country are pretty strait forward. They stem directly from the completely inflexible teachers union (who should be ashamed of themselves) and management that does nothing more than attend endless meetings over and over that churn out bullet point after bullet point. My kids school actually has some pretty good teachers by some miracle, but the management issue is ridiculous. I try to be an involved parent but all the events they have are so ridiculous it borders on insanity. They always serve Pizza Pit, the champaign of pizza. Follow that up with great games or skits to entertain the crowd... then the principle gives a 30 to 45min speech about all the great plans she has (but will never implement) then they let the parents talk for about 10min and avoid answering all our questions like "When will you fill in the 6 foot sink hole in the middle of the playground?" and no, I'm not kidding, there really is a 6' sinkhole.

The last one I went to they sent out a questionnaire that asked:
What is most important to you in the education of your child?
a. Hands on learning
b. A diverse and equitable learning environment
c. An involved teaching staff

What the hell does that mean? I just circled them all and wrote "YES" underneath. And these people have 4 to 8 year degrees.

Re:Unions and comitties (5, Funny)

sphealey (2855) | about 6 months ago | (#46995157)

Although I'm generally a strong supporter of public schools and public school teachers, I will concede that your spelling teacher needs a bit of remedial classwork himself.

sPh

Re:Unions and comitties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995481)

So you're saying you're a product of this teaching environment and can't comprehend the phrase 'MOST important'?

Or you're criticizing this teaching environment and you think yours was better?

Like this doesn't happen all the time? (2)

bswarm (2540294) | about 6 months ago | (#46995065)

San Diego schools got lots of money years ago for teachers and supplies, most of it was spent in consulting what to do with it, the result was one new fence, and there was nothing wrong with the old one. It was all over the news

Re:Like this doesn't happen all the time? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995103)

Link? no? yeah, thought so.

Re:Like this doesn't happen all the time? (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 6 months ago | (#46995405)

I really tried finding it just for you, but this was at least 10-15 years ago. I'm pretty sure Turkofiles covered it at KUSI. Sorry no link found.

Re:Like this doesn't happen all the time? (3, Informative)

bswarm (2540294) | about 6 months ago | (#46995465)

Oh, here it is, not the Turkofile I remember but the same story. See "Why this fence?" http://www.utsandiego.com/unio... [utsandiego.com]

This shows the real problem (5, Insightful)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 6 months ago | (#46995069)

If the money was wasted by upper management, then that should be a big red flag that the problem is most likely with upper management.

Re:This shows the real problem (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46995141)

yep.

Re:This shows the real problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995433)

It's pretty clear that management signed shitty contracts they couldn't afford.

Naturally (according to conservatives), since they signed them with their employees rather than with a bank, it's the employees' fault.

Now that we're done assigning blame, we need to figure out how to fix it. While republicans would espouse "ignore rule of law and void all employment contracts" I'd prefer to work within the confines of the rules. Ideas?

How about getting taxpayers to fix the funding for teachers' pensions. A one time cash injection of the billions of dollars the pensions are behind, with one caveat: once the check is cut, pensions are out of new hires' contracts. They pay and get socsec like everyone else.

He could have done better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995071)

Zuckerberg would have done better to have set up an endowment fund to pay for scholarships to private schools. If he wanted to have a longer reach, he could have created a foundation to build and operate a system of free private schools. His $100 M would probably not be enough for that, but such a foundation could prove the concept with one school, then solicit further donations to build more.

silk purse...sows ear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995091)

very old lesson.

Public schools are broken (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | about 6 months ago | (#46995109)

Zuckerberg spends $100 million to prove that throwing money at broken public schools does not fix them.

Are we surprised? No.

Reading comprehension, D- (2)

westlake (615356) | about 6 months ago | (#46995479)

Zuckerberg spends $100 million to prove that throwing money at broken public schools does not fix them.

Zuckerberg spent $100 million in a botched attempt to funnel selected students into for-profit charter schools. Helping to break the public school system for those left behind.

not knowing what education is for (1)

ceview (2857765) | about 6 months ago | (#46995113)

I think he would have been better to use the money to set up training programs for skill sets that are useful to society, particularly infrastructure aspects like plumbing, electricians etc. May be use the money to set up in school programs for really specific things like programming, or target specific types of students to figure out what they might excel in.

Re:not knowing what education is for (2)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46995253)

I would add in art and music. Part of the trick is to find something that excites students and engages them in schools. Not everyone wants to work in a cube, some might like customizing cars. Others like acting or band. If you give the right rewards in the right way then things may improve. There's always the old "keep your grades up your you might get dropped from the { team | lead role in the play | field trip to the museum}" approach that does seem to work.

Nice tax write off (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 6 months ago | (#46995153)

I wouldn't be too worried about Zuck....I'm sure his "gift" was also a nice tax write off. Again, this just goes to show you that if you want to IMPROVE education, throwing more MONEY at it, will not work!

Blind teaching the Blind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995185)

A young child is expected to be uneducated and stupid. To expect him to learn from what can only be considered some of the lowest denominators in life that take up teaching, well that's just cruel. The problem with education is that the teachers are morons. In the age of the computer and internet with easy access to video, teachers no longer need be the social dropouts that are sucking the life out of society, but the best in their fields can take up the role and be recorded giving lessons. You would think someone like Mark Zuckerberg would lean towards something like Khan Academy over the self destroyed "education system".

Problem not borne of cash? (3, Insightful)

See Attached (1269764) | about 6 months ago | (#46995223)

Sounds like the problem with Newark schools are the folks that -HAD- a great opportunity to make things better, but diverted it into each others pockets rather than into programs that actually increased the chances that the students would prosper? Is this a small scale version of municipal budgets and quest for opinion and appearance rather than results? I mean .. publicity and appearance over real change?

What was the expectation? (1)

snemiro (1775092) | about 6 months ago | (#46995263)

Well..if you give free money to managers, they will solve their issues....new yatch, new sports car, new house, 5* vacations.... of course, it will look as "work" from the accountability perspective....big invoices from consulting companies, fake construction, availability studies, etc.....just a bunch of paper. There is nothing more tempting to "administer" other's monies.... look at the Govt!...

Throwing money (3, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 6 months ago | (#46995293)

Throwing money at a problem does not result in a solution, it results in a well-funded problem.

The System is Broken by Design (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995325)

John Taylor Gatto covers it pretty well in "The Underground History of American Education". It' available for online reading here:
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

US Education Defective by Design (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 6 months ago | (#46995343)

The US education system is defective by design. It is designed to do anything but produce smart Americans. In fact, I would say it is designed to produce dumb, dependent Americans who will be loyal voters for the party most established throughout that system. It is no secret that the Democrat party controls the public education system top to bottom, and is interested only in producing Democrat voters.

It is not surprising in the least that Zuck's $100M did absolutely nothing to increase the quality of students leaving New Jersey's schools.

So... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 6 months ago | (#46995353)

... the consultants got rich and the kids got nothing. Good work, guys. There's a special spot in hell for you.

Wrong Approach (3, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | about 6 months ago | (#46995463)

You can't just throw a bunch of money at a problem and expect a solution to come out. You have to decide on a solution and then throw a bunch of money at it.

It sounds like there were a ton of problems in New Jersey. Crumbling schools? Spend the $100 million fixing infrastructure. Kids have trouble at home? Spend the money on councillors and after-school programs. Poor teachers? Spend it on recruiting.

It seems like they went in with a lot of money and a grand poorly defined plan, a huge institution isn't just going to jump in and implement someone's poorly defined scheme, so instead of spend everybody was busy fighting over details and figuring out where the money should go. The result is the money is wasted in paperwork and of the stuff that got spent no one knows what actually worked.

District of Columbia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995467)

The public school that receives the most funding and spends the most per child in the ENTIRE COUNTRY also has THE WORST RESULTS.

Odd how so many are repeating communist^H^H^H^Hsocialist bullshit about "1% paying their fair share and schools need more money!"

Wait, wait, don't tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46995469)

99 million of that went to killing the teacher's union. Am I right?

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