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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

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...