Blog: Mobility and Portability

Rather that fighting to preserve an expensive, unfair status quo, teachers should demand retirement plans worth fighting for.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we think one of the ways states could thank teachers would be to make sure they all have secure, portable, sustainable retirement benefits. Unfortunately, too many teachers do not. To help illustrate why that’s not happening, consider six ways states make it harder for teachers to qualify for secure retirement benefits, as told through the lens of some of the most memorable, fictional teachers and educators.
Given the benefits to both the employee and the employer, states should expand existing portable retirement options offered to other state employees to teachers as well.
Teachers, no matter how new, shouldn’t need a side hustle to make ends meet. But, conservatively (and without including summer work), 16 percent do. One solution? Pension reform. Right now, states pay, on average, $6,800 per teacher toward pension debt. These payments aren’t going to future benefits, but instead to pay down existing debts.
Should we care about individual workers’ lived experiences in a given profession, or should we take a snapshot of the current workforce as representative of all those who experience it?
Not-so-breaking news: A pension advocacy group thinks pensions are the best retirement option for all workers.
Pension reform would likely benefit South Carolina's teachers and students.
In a country were 76 percent of teachers are women, we’d expect to see females as lead earners in a state’s public school system. But that isn’t the case, and that same gender wage gap extends into retirement.
All teachers deserve a secure retirement. But under today’s current teacher retirement savings plans, more than half of all new educators won’t qualify for even a minimal pension benefit. We took a state-by-state look at public teacher retirement plans, and the findings were dismal.
Pension plans themselves do not assume that teachers change their behavior in order to qualify for a pension.