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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

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...
February 8, 2016
Leslie Kan, Daniel Fuchs, and Chad Aldeman
One out of every four dollars that Illinois taxpayers send to Springfield goes toward pensions. The teacher pension system alone makes up over half...
September 23, 2015
U.S. News & World Report -- Today's pension policy is making it extra hard for young teachers to save for retirement. Saving even a little in...
July 7, 2015
Leslie Kan, Chad Aldeman
In terms of retirement benefits, now is the worst time in at least three decades to become a teacher. After years of expansion, a number of states...
January 29, 2015
The Denver Post -- Public school teachers face plenty of uncertainty. It's a challenging profession that demands patience without guarantees of...

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...
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...
November 18, 2014
Chad Aldeman
Over at TeacherPensions.org, I have a new post looking at the retirement savings “pyramid” for typical American workers–a base of Social...