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Mark Zuckerberg is moving full steam ahead on his initiative to improve the education system in the U.S. The Facebook chief executive announced today that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have selected former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Jim Shelton to spearhead their education initiative.
Most recently, Shelton served within the Department of Education under the Obama administration. But before that, he was the program director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a partner with the NewSchools Venture Fund, and president for the LearnNow Division for Edison Schools. His experience in education was most likely the main reason for being hired by Zuckerberg, not to mention his understanding of Washington, D.C. and how to deal with the bureaucracy.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative officially became a thing in December when Zuckerberg and Chan revealed that they would be giving away 99 percent of their family’s shares in the social networking company to promote child equality. In the past few months, details about the Chan Zuckerberg initiative have been coming out slowly — largely because of Zuckerberg’s other philanthropic-like programs such as Internet.org. The basis of the Zuckerberg family initiative is personalized learning and helping underserved communities.
“We set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with the flexibility to support non-profits, invest in companies and advocate for policies that will advance this mission. We’ll build technology where it can help, and we believe in listening to and working closely with parents, teachers and students to understand the specific needs of the communities we’re working in,” Zuckerberg wrote.
He continued to say that the efforts by his organization won’t meet instant success: “This is a long term mission and progress won’t happen overnight. But if we plant seeds now and let them grow over time, then we can improve complex systems like the way we educate our children. Priscilla and I are excited that Jim is leading the Education Initiative, and we look forward to working with him.”
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