Social Policy & Politics Program | Idea Brief

Taking Immediate Steps to Provide Teachers with a Secure Retirement

by Tamara Hiler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

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This idea brief provides a set of clear recommendations for how the federal government can update public sector retirement guidelines to help meet the needs of a new generation of teachers.

Under the current state formulas, only 1 in 5 new teachers will receive a full pension, while less than half will be able to collect even a minimum pension. This problem becomes particularly acute for the nearly 40% of teachers who work outside of the Social Security system. With states increasing vesting times and fewer teachers staying in the career long-term, the federal government needs to take immediate action to encourage states to move to more modern pension systems that can provide a secure retirement for all teachers, not just those who stay in the field for decades.

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