Philanthropy Politics & Regulation

Joining the school yard battle


Dozens of hedge fund managers have funded the charter school movement—and stepped into one of the most contentious public debates in America

By Danielle Beurteaux

Illustration by Simon Pemberton

“Education Pays!” chirps the bright blue-and-orange poster in the office of Harlem Success Academy 2, one of New York City’s 125 charter schools. “Do you want to miss out on an excellent education and the chance to have $2 million?” the poster asks the school’s kindergarten through grade 3 students, using Department of Labor statistics comparing annual earnings with education to make its point.

They probably don’t, although $2 million is a lot of money for 5-to-8-year-olds to wrap their heads around. But then, the kids at this