The secret billionaire that gives $15,000 to hundreds of New York teachers

US teachers are paid 1.3 per cent less on average than they were 13 years ago

Zlata Rodionova
Tuesday 15 September 2015 17:06

The founder of a $22-billion hedge fund, James Harris Simons, has supported the next generation of math teachers and scholars by donating money through his philanthropic organisation.

Not just one teacher, either. Mr Simons, who runs the billion-dollar hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, started giving out money to deserving public school math and science teachers across New York City through Math for America, a non-profit organization he created 20 years ago.

"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," Mr Simons said during a Ted talk interview. “There's a great morale among them. They're staying in the field. Next year, it'll be 1,000 and that'll be 10 percent of the math and science teachers in New York [City] public schools.”

Mr Simons created the organisation with his wife Marilyn with the mission “making teaching a viable, rewarding, and respected career choice for the best minds in science and mathematics.

US teachers are paid 1.3 per cent less on average than they were 13 years ago. The average salary is now $US 56,383 according to the National Centre for Education Statistics.

Mr Simons received his doctorate at 23, before doing advance code breaking for the National Security Agency at age 26. He founded Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, at the age of 44.

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