Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Work Force

Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Work Force

Education Sector has issued a report examining the financial challenges facing state pension programs for teachers as well as the educational consequences of such plans. Funded by the Joyce Foundation, the report, Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Work Force (27 pages, PDF), finds that current teacher pension systems compel teachers to stay in the classroom until they reach certain career milestones — regardless of "burnout" or a desire to pursue another career. As a result of this and other structural elements of teacher retirement plans, schools are impaired in their ability to recruit, hire, retain, and compensate high-quality teachers and principals. The report offers several legal, political, technical, and structural policy recommendations that states could pursue to better meet the needs of a modern teaching workforce, including raising the retirement age and mandating minimum annual pension payments.