Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan have donated $20 million toward helping get American classrooms better Internet and connecting students to the rest of the world. The couple provided a gift to the Education SuperHighway group as part of their mission to provide more opportunities for people to access the Internet.
“In schools, Internet is critical for enabling something we know leads to better results: personalized learning,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
The $20 million comes on top of the $3 million the group received from Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan in 2013, according to The New York Times.
According to Education SuperHighway, 21 million students in the United States still lack broadband Internet. To put it another way, 23 percent of all school districts are not meeting the minimum bandwidth goal for digital learning.
This announcement should not come as a surprise; Zuckerberg has been very vocal about his desire to get more people connected. One need only look at his global initiative, Internet.org, as a clear indicator about how serious he is. He and Dr. Chan are also passionate about changing the way education works, so this donation really combines both of their interests.
In 2010, Facebook’s CEO made a $100 million donation to the New Jersey public education system in an effort to change the status quo. He was heavily criticized over the move, as were his partners then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie. However, recently he released details of how his investment has paid off, which show that progress is being made in New Jersey.
Zuckerberg has made donations in his home state too: He has given to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation while also saying he and his wife will work with the Summit Public Schools to develop a personalized learning platform that could be made available nationwide.