The grouping of strange bedfellows (and a rare time when Oprah will not be the richest person on her show) is more evidence of the growing cache of the cause of remaking urban public schools (see "Waiting for 'Superman' " next week), an issue that has long confounded educators and advocates because, seriously, few people in elected positions really give a damn about poor people or education, or have the stones to do anything to help either.
"What you're seeing is for the under-40 set, education reform is what feeding kids in Africa was in 1980," said Derrell Bradford, executive director of the Newark-based education-reform group Excellent Education for Everyone. "Newark public schools are like the new Live Aid."
All that's missing is a killer performance by Queen.
Zuckerberg is not the first person to get rich on technology and then donate some of his wealth to urban schools.
Last year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $290 million in education grants, along with $45 million for research into effective teaching. The grants included $100 million to Hillsborough County public schools in Tampa, Fla., and $90 million to Memphis city schools. The Gates Foundation also has given more than $150 million to New York City schools over the past eight years, primarily for a project to transform its high schools into small schools.
An official familiar with the Newark plan confirmed it to the Associated Press yesterday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the parties have been told not to scoop Oprah.
With "The Social Network" about to open, some suggested that altruism was not the only thing driving Zuckerberg's gift, and Tattle does wonder whether all Newark schoolchildren will be forced to play Farmville.
"I hate to be cynical, and there are few districts in the nation that couldn't use an infusion of cash more than Newark," wrote blogger Christopher Dawson on ZDNet. "However, the timing of the announcement, coinciding with a high-profile return of district control from the state of New Jersey to the municipality of Newark, on 'Oprah' no less, feels a little too staged."
Forbes.com yesterday was asking readers: "Was the gift heartfelt or cunning PR?"
Zuckerberg is worth $6.9 billion, good enough to make him the 35th-wealthiest American.
'Street' shaken by ta-tas
The censorship police are at it again and this time their target is "Sesame Street," or more accurately, an appearance by Katy Perry on "Sesame Street."
Katy, as most of us know, is a well-endowed pop star. She's also quirky and charming and funny, and had taped a duet with Elmo, a spoof of her hit "Hot N Cold," for "Sesame Street."
The performance hit YouTube this week, and from all the hue and cry you'd think Katy was tickling Elmo in bad places.
No, the sturm und drang is because you can see a little Katy cleavage below a mesh top - less cleavage than a "Sesame Street" watcher would see at the kiddie pool or anywhere else where the weather is above 30 degrees.
These are toddlers watching "Sesame Street," people! It wasn't too long ago they were suckling breasts. They weren't getting turned on by Katy Perry, as one kook exclaimed about her young son; they were getting excited about snack time.
Unfortunately, the "Street" caved.
"We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show. . . . We also value our viewers' opinions and particularly those of parents," Sesame Workshop said in a statement. "In light of the feedback we've received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on YouTube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of 'Sesame Street,' which is aimed at preschoolers."
A Katy spokeswoman said in a statement: "Katy enjoyed working with 'Sesame Street,' Kevin Clash and playing dress-up with Elmo. You can view all the fun at katyperry.com."
* Portia de Rossi has officially
taken wife Ellen DeGeneres' last name.
An L.A. commissioner granted De Rossi's request to take the name during a hearing yesterday. She will now legally be known as Portia Lee James DeGeneres.
The couple married in August 2008, during the five-month window in which gay marriage was legal in California.
* After looking like a fool the first time he went soft on Lindsay Lohan, RadarOnline.com reports that Judge Elden Fox won't allow cameras in the courtroom today, when she returns to face the music for her failed drug test.
No cameras? Linds may skip it.
* The Karaoke World Championships are in Moscow this weekend, and the winner will get one million Russian dumplings.
Second prize? Two million dumplings (rim shot, thank you very much).
Entrants from Nigeria and Australia take note: Dumplings do not travel well, and a million of them will not fit in the overhead compartment.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.