The private and reclusive Jim Simons (the founder and head of Renaissance Technologies) wants to improve the math skills of American kids. To that end he’s started a foundation called Math for America and pledged $50 million of his own money (loose change for Simons). The purpose of the program is to financially motivate top graduates of universities and colleges to go on to teach math.
Interestingly enough around 40% of public school math teachers in the US do not have a degree in math. And the result is that the US is placing almost dead last in a world wide ranking of student math proficiency.
Of course, a cynic might say that Simons is only watching out for himself since his hedge fund is powered by the top minds from MIT and other Ivy schools. But I think he is truly motivated by benevolence. After all he’s got all the money he will every need and he will be long dead before this program yields results.
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