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Teacher Pensions

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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The vast majority of our nation’s 3.3 million public school teachers participate in a traditional pension plan managed by their state or local government. Unfortunately, the design of those plans leaves too many teachers with inadequate benefits. Over half of today’s new teachers will not stay in a single pension system long enough to qualify for a minimum pension when they retire. Making matters worse, 40 percent of public school teachers lack Social Security coverage.

In contrast to most of the public debate on pensions, which centers on funding issues, our work focuses on analyzing how well current plans serve the teacher workforce. We also encourage policymakers to think strategically about pensions as part of teachers’ overall compensation package, and provide data and analysis to help them do so. Through our affiliated website Teacherpensions.org, we provide high-quality analysis and commentary to help stakeholders understand the teacher pension issue and the trade-offs among various options for reform. Our work makes the issues more accessible and relevant to the general public, more compelling to policymakers, and more understandable for current teachers.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

 

Publications

January 23, 2017
Education Post -- Do dues-paying teachers realize that their pension funds may be invested with private equity firms that destroy unions as they buy...
September 12, 2016
The 74 Million -- Both teachers and NFL players are among the very few careers that offer a pension for retirement. The problem is that the pension...
September 6, 2016
NY Daily News -- We should spend a little bit of time thinking about everyone who won’t be returning. That includes about 200,000 teachers who, for...
July 25, 2016
The 74 Million -- Live blog coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention
May 13, 2016
Chad Aldeman
Why aren’t teacher salaries rising? It’s not for lack of money. Even after adjusting for inflation and rising student enrollment, total school...

Resources

Blog Posts

January 27, 2017
Chad Aldeman
This post originally appeared on our sister site, TeacherPensions.org. Should public charter schools be allowed to opt out of state-run...
November 30, 2016
Kirsten Schmitz
Glass ceilings aren't limited to the workplace, unfortunately. Because most states offer teacher retirement benefits based on their salary...
September 16, 2015
Chad Aldeman
In two new briefs out today, I attempt to tackle the notion that a defined benefit “pension” is automatically a good retirement plan for...