Shirley Ben-Ami was a teacher for nearly 35 years. She taught fourteen and half years in the New York City Public Schools and spent the last 20 years in Montgomery County, Maryland. In the following interview Ms. Ben-Ami talks about her experiences in the classroom and when it was time for her to retire.
If states and districts consider funding teacher retirements as separate from their investments in K-12 education, it becomes much easier for legislators and governors to kick the funding liabilities down the road and leave them for others to sort out. It also creates the odd situation like the one we see in Maryland in which the state is both raising and cutting education funding.
How do we get more STEM teachers? One idea is to convince folks leaving a STEM job to start a second career in the classroom. But, career-changers, particularly in STEM fields, would most likely have to accept both a significant pay cut and lower retirement benefits. This happens because these individuals will have two separate retirement saving plans. And, unfortunately, they will be unlikely to realize the full benefits of either.
As a part of her Initiative on Technology & Innovation, Clinton proposes that the government ensure that employee benefits are “flexible, portable, and comprehensive.” She argues that strong benefits that workers can take with them whenever they move and that can be customized to meet their specific needs are essential to a 21st century workforce. Clinton's proposals would go a long way to ensure teacher pensions provide educators with better benefits.