Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Imperiled Teacher Pensions

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Imperiled Teacher Pensions

Article excerpt

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States are systematically endangering teacher retirement security, according to a report from Bellwether Education Partners.

"Collectively, the states are facing a $1.4 trillion shortfall for public sector pensions and benefits, and they are responding by increasing out-of-pocket costs for teachers and mandatory contributions from school districts and enacting punitive policies," the report said.

"State and local governments have made their pension systems less friendly to young and mobile workers by lengthening vesting periods and creating separate, less generous plans for new employees," the report said.

Almost half of all U.S. public teachers won't qualify for a minimal pension benefit, and less than one in five will stick around long enough to earn a normal retirement package, said the authors. Drawing from state pension plan data, they found that:

* About 86% of teachers in Maine won't qualify for a pension.

* Four of five beginning teachers in Washington, D.C., won't work long enough to qualify for a pension.

* Only about 25% of teachers will qualify in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Hawaii. …

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