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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

March 9, 2020
Traditional teacher pension plans really only work well for about one-fifth of teachers. Jay Mathews, columnist at The Washington Post, highlights...
March 5, 2020
Chad Aldeman
In response to financial pressures, the New York State Assembly has created new, less-generous retirement plans for teachers and other educators....
November 13, 2019
Chad Aldeman
Most Americans depend on their Social Security benefits to lead a comfortable and secure retirement. And yet not all workers can count on Social...
June 11, 2019
Max Marchitello
West Virginia’s attempt to reshape its teacher retirement system in the 1990s and early 2000s is often cited as a cautionary tale to block other...
June 4, 2019
Chad Aldeman, Andrew J. Rotherham
Fed up with stagnant salaries, teachers have gone on strike all across the country over the past few years. Meanwhile, education spending is hitting...

Resources

Blog Posts

February 26, 2020
Chad Aldeman
Teachers are relatively risk-averse compared to other professionals, but the pension plans covering 90 percent of teachers are taking...
December 13, 2019
Tanya Paperny
Saturday at 9 a.m. EST, eight presidential candidates are expected to participate in “Public Education Forum 2020,” a debate sponsored by...
November 14, 2019
Katrina Boone and Alex Spurrier
Although he took more than a week to concede, Kentucky’s 62nd governor, Republican Matt Bevin, will not serve a second term. Experts agree...