A secretive hedge fund legend is paying 800 New York teachers $15,000

Teachers in America are poorly paid relative to their peers elsewhere in the advanced world.

Jim Simons, the legendary founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies and a renowned mathematician, is now doing something about it.

Simons has been channeling money to deserving math and science teachers through his philanthropic organization, Math for America.
"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," said the founder of $22 billion Renaissance Technologies during a rare interview with Chris Anderson.

"There's a great morale among them," he said. "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."

Teachers in the US are paid about $56,383 annually - down 1.3% on average from 13 years ago, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Simons started Math for America nearly 20 years ago with his wife, Marilyn Simons. He left Renaissance about six years ago to work with the foundation - though he still has an active role in the hedge fund.

"Yeah - 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," Simons said.To read the full transcript of the video, click here.