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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

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...
March 18, 2019
Chad Aldeman, Marisa Vang
Do current state pension plans ensure a comfortable retirement for most teachers? “Insufficient: How State Pension Plans Leave Teachers With...
August 22, 2018
Max Marchitello
What effect does spending on educator benefits, such as pensions and healthcare, have on district and state K-12 education budgets? In a new report...

Resources

Blog Posts

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...
June 18, 2019
Max Marchitello
Despite its relatively small size, the state of West Virginia has had a significant influence on national politics. Take for example West...
June 12, 2019
Max Marchitello
I have an opinion piece out today in GOVERNING magazine. Despite the insistence that West Virginia’s pension experience proves reform can’t...