Math for America

  • Education
  • 2004

James Simons is a walking advertisement for the power of math. The former chairman of the mathematics department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook got an itch to try mathematical approaches to investing, founded a firm that helped usher in the new field of quantitative money management, and ended up with a $12 billion personal fortune. Simons has since given away more than a billion dollars, using some of that to establish a program to chip away at the gross shortage of teachers qualified to instruct students in higher-level math and science.

Math for America pays math and science majors who elect to become teachers an additional stipend beyond their scaled school-district salary. This stipend can total up to $100,000 spread over five years. The fellowship also provides opportunities for professional development, chances to network with other math teachers, and scholarships for candidates while they are students. The program began and remains largest in New York City, but operates now in seven locations, supporting more than a thousand teachers, and it is expanding.