Good News: Billionaire hedge fund founder gives $15,000 to 800 NY teachers

September 15, 2015
Jim Simons during a TED interview (YouTube)

Jim Simons during a TED interview (YouTube)

By Brian Han

Among OECD countries, the U.S. ranks below average in terms of teacher salaries. So much so that founder of $22 billion Renaissance Technologies and respected mathematician Jim Simons decided to do something about it to even the playing field.

In 2004, Simons set up an organization to tackle this issue head on called Math for America. It identifies teachers who are doing an exceptional job and rewards them for the work they do.

“We give them extra money, $15,000 a year. We have 800 math and science teachers in New York City in public schools today, as part of a core,” he said during a recently released TED interview.

“Instead of beating up the bad teachers, which has created morale problems all through the educational community, in particular in math and science, we focus on celebrating the good ones and giving them status.”

Although Math for America has been providing a financial supplement to these teachers for years, the number is growing significantly and by next year the number will rise from 800 to ”1,000 and that’ll be 10 percent of the math and science teachers in New York public schools,” he said.

U.S. teachers are paid an average salary $56,383, which is actually a decrease from 13 years ago according to the National Center of Education Statistics.


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