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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 8, 2018
Max Marchitello, Kirsten Schmitz, Chad Aldeman
Most educators are women, and yet male educators outearn women in terms of annual salaries and retirement benefits. Given that school districts...
October 12, 2017
Chad Aldeman and Paulina S. Diaz Aguirre
Years of irresponsible budgeting practices have left the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) almost $12 billion in debt. Without...
September 5, 2017
The 74 Million --  At a time when our teacher workforce is going through the same aging process as the rest of our country, it’s worth asking why we...
August 23, 2017
Max Marchitello
What effect does teacher pension spending have on school funding equity? In Bellwether's new report, “Illinois’ Teacher Pension Plans Deepen School...
June 25, 2017
The 74 Million -- The bill would benefit all existing retirees, all current teachers, and the vast majority of future teachers. And yet unions are...

Resources

Blog Posts

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...
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...