Public pension plans often offer better benefits to employees of public colleges and universities, than to employees in public K-12 schools in the same state.

The 74 Million recently published an article that explains the root cause of these differences. When the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America was created a century ago to provide retirement benefits to college professors, there was an assumption that employees would change jobs throughout the course of their working lives.

Around the same time, however, K-12 employees were expected to stay at their job until retirement. “At the time, many states forbade teachers from marrying or having children, and the only ones who remained in the profession had no other dependable sources of income. This was well before Social Security was extended to public servants, and states operated all-or-nothing retirement plans that awarded pensions to employees with 25 or more years of service.”

While state plans have improved over time, and many teachers are now enrolled in Social Security, “pension plans still struggle to offer adequate benefits to workers who don’t remain in one school system for their full careers.”

Read the whole article at The 74 Million.

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This article quotes selections from “Mobility. Flexibility. Fairness. State Colleges Have These in Their Retirement Plans. So Why Don’t K-12 Districts?” by Chad Aldeman, in The 74 Million, October 15, 2019.