• The gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money they have set aside to pay these bills was at least $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2016, according to Pew's comprehensive analysis on pension and retiree health care funding.
  • Focusing on the Kansas City and Saint Louis school districts, the authors argue that the defined benefit pension structure does not benefit Missouri’s urban schools. The authors find that pension systems reward only a small percentage of teachers who remain in the same district for an extended period, while severely penalizing teachers who move across districts or leave the profession.
  • This paper argues that transition costs from moving from defined benefit pension systems to defined contribution plans are minor and should not stand in the way to pension reform.
  • While politics have frequently hampered the efforts to reform state pensions systems, several states have successfully passed significant reform to their pension systems.
  • Half of all Americans who teach in public schools won’t qualify for even a minimal pension benefit, and less than one in five will remain long enough to earn a normal retirement benefit. As a result, while the system works for a few, it creates an enormous problem affecting many—especially given the sheer size of the teaching workforce.