One of the world’s richest men, Jim Simons is worth an estimated $10.6 billion. A former mathematician, Simons is the founder of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that uses complex mathematical models to manage its assets.The U.S. is currently ranked 48th in the world in the quality of its math and science education, and Simons believes that the problem is a dearth of qualified high school teachers. Simons talks to Jon Meacham about Math for America, his non-profit organization that recruits talented math teachers and pays them not to leave the classroom for a bigger paycheck. The program also pays its teaching fellows the cost of their masters’ degrees.
“I want to make the job sufficiently attractive so that at least it is an alternative,” Simons said. Today, 85 percent of Math for America fellows are still teaching after five years, compared to a national average of only about 50 percent.