Education’s VICEX…And Is Rod Paige Mixed Up With Terrorism Again?

There is a mutual fund out there that a lot of investors love to hate or hate to love. VICEX is the opposite of a socially responsible mutual fund. It invests almost exclusively in defense contractors, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling interests (pdf). Not surprisingly, it also earns a not-too-shabby return.

But I’m starting to think that Florida’s teacher pension fund may be education’s VICEX…first they bought into Edison Schools and now they’re funding Rod Paige’s new venture through their NY investment arm!

Now, as it turns out, that investment arm, pace pp. 54 here, may not be a VICEX in the returns department (pdf), though by all accounts Chartwell is doing well. But, there is something more interesting here: Florida has passed a controversial law banning state funds from supporting travel to countries that the U.S. State Department says are bad news in the war on terror. Yet it looks like Chartwell is planning to spend some time working to improve education in the Mideast partnered with a firm that does business in some of those countries that State is down on…

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