What We’re Watching: How to Solve the Teacher-Pension Problem

On Thursday morning, Fordham hosted No Way Out? How to Solve the Teacher-Pension Problem, a forum that looks to address the public policy dilemma that teacher-pension systems present.

As explained on the event website

America’s teacher-pension systems (with up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities according to some estimates) present a raging public-policy dilemma. Career teachers absolutely deserve a secure retirement, but lawmakers promised them benefits that the system cannot afford, as those promises were based on short-term political considerations and bad math. Now the bill is coming due, and someone’s going to get soaked.

What’s the least bad option going forward? Who should bear the brunt of this legacy of fiscal irresponsibility? Current retirees? Today’s teachers? New teachers? School districts? Taxpayers? The students themselves?

The forum was moderated by Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and panelists include Sandi Jacobs, vice president and managing director of state policy, National Council on Teacher Quality; Josh B. McGee, vice president of public accountability, Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Charles Zogby, secretary of the budget, Pennsylvania; and Leo Casey, executive director, Albert Shanker Institute.

Education Next articles on the topic of teacher pensions include:

Fixing Teacher Pensions: Is it enough to adjust existing plans?” by Robert Costrell, Michael Podgursky, and Christian Weller, Fall 2011

Pension Reform would be Good for Teachers,” (podcast), by Robert Costrell and Michael Podgursky, December 2010

Teacher Retirement Benefits: Even in economically tough times, costs are higher than ever,” by Robert Costrell and Michael Podgursky, Spring 2009

Peaks, Cliffs, and Valleys: The peculiar incentives of teacher pensions,” by Robert Costrell and Michael Podgursky, Winter 2008

—Education Next

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