Better Pay, Fairer Pensions: Reforming Teacher Compensation

Josh McGee and Marcus A. Winters
Publication Date: 
September 2013

If districts adopted retirement systems where benefits accrued smoothly year after year and increased the proportion of teacher compensation that is paid directly as salary, they could offer a more attractive compensation package to most teachers without the need for higher taxes or reduced services. The authors find that these two simple reforms—neither of which would increase spending—would allow school districts to:

  • Raise teacher salaries, in some cases substantially;
  • Give teachers more retirement security than they now have;
  • Make teaching a more attractive option for people who are unsure that they will work for decades in the same school district; and
  • Offer teachers more control over when they stop working.

It concludes that these compensation changes would help districts offer a more attractive compensation package to most teachers, likely having a positive effect on teacher quality and student achievement.