Teacher pension systems are not structured to effectively serve educators whose spouse is an active duty military service member. And while teaching may be a good career option for military spouses in theory, the way that states have set up their pension plans means these families will face challenges saving for retirement.
In Maryland, teacher pension spending increases inequities between high and low poverty school districts. The problem is only getting worse as the state's pension debt costs continues to grow. In 2018, Maryland spent approximately twice as much per pupil on teacher pension debt than it received in federal Title I funding. The state’s pension spending blunts the effect of federal education spending designed to provide greater support to high-poverty school districts. If Maryland were to improve the financial health of its teacher pension system, students attending high-poverty districts would receive greater per pupil funding overall even if the state didn’t increase the equity of its own school funding system.
Since state teacher pension systems are based on teachers' experience level, high turnover districts spend less on teachers' total contribution than low-turnover districts. Also, districts with high teacher attrition disproportionately serve low-income communities. As such, teacher pensions can exacerbate inequities in school funding.