Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, when is Facebook going to do something significant for education?

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via: startupeducation.org

Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation, Startup:Education, claims that it invests in “high quality school models to help all children succeed.”

On the surface, this seems very altruistic. What troubles me is that Zuckerberg, while presumably well intentioned, appears to also be frighteningly misguided.

While we can’t be sure what Startup:Education’s idea of a high quality school is, it’s clear from Zuckerberg’s donation of $4 million to Panorama, a startup company that administers surveys, that the Facebook creator doesn’t understand the real issues in American education. There are plenty of more experienced companies already exploring school climate and bullying — not to diminish these important issues.

How about something more significant?

Since Zuckerberg has a foundation in place, why not contribute something more significant than surveys and $100 million to one school district? Here are three causes that come to mind:

  • How about a national program that puts a book in every child’s hand? The U.S is a country littered with nonreaders. Quality research says that lack of books is the culprit
  • How about funding a movement to eliminate standardization? Sound unrealistic? Put the power of Facebook behind it, and we’ll see about that.
  • How about at least one powerful, standalone app for students of all ages? Maybe build a simple platform to facilitate communication between a student and all of her teachers that she could access from her mobile device?

I’m sure there are dozens of other excellent ideas to maximize the power of Facebook and Startup:Education. I hope Mark Zuckerberg will consider these and add a leader to his foundation who is a teacher.

Consider this post my application for that position.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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