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A different model for teacher pensions?

A new report from the right-leaning Manhattan Institute argues that there’s a better way for teachers to earn their pensions that wouldn’t cost any extra money.

Teacher pension systems in big districts, including New York City, work in a way that gains very little value for teachers in their first 20 years of work, and then pensions gain value very quickly until the normal retirement age. That encourages a long-term commitment to the system but heavily penalizes those who don’t make it into those lucrative, late-career years.

The Manhattan researchers propose an more even yearly increase in value, which would benefit teachers who spend less time in the system overall. That system could be especially appealing to charter schools, as a Manhattan fellow wrote in a recent Forbes article: “Pension benefits are especially unappealing to certain kinds of teachers that charters are likely to hire—mid-career entrants to teaching, and young people who do not expect to spend a full career in teaching.”

For now, it’s an academic discussion. The UFT had this to say about even pension increases: “The children and the schools are best served by people who make a long-term commitment to a teaching career, and the pension system should reflect that commitment.”

You can read the full report here.

—Sarah Darville

(Image: Better Pay, Fairer Pensions/Manhattan Institute)

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