Hedge fund givers back NY charters

New York City’s hedge fund multimillionaires are backing charter schools, reports the New York Times.

“If you’re at a hedge fund, this is definitely the hot cause,” said Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, a nonprofit group that lobbies for charters and is financed by hedge fund heavies. “These are the kind of guys who a decade ago would have been spending their time angling to get on the junior board of the Met, the ballet.”

. . .  Charter schools appeal to the maverick instincts of many who run hedge funds.

. . . “At heart we are still the kids who in eighth grade were in the backyard doing science experiments while the cool kids were at football practice,” said (Ravenal) Curry, 43.

Many of the city’s charter schools share space with district-run public schools that can’t fill a building. There’s a lot of conflict over space — who gets to use the library? — and jealousy because the charters may use private funding and flexibility to pay for smaller classes, technology, new learning materials, cleaner classrooms and a longer school day.

Charter managers can’t scale up quickly enough, writes Tom Toch. Yes, that’s a huge challenge.

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