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Can California Teacher Pensions Be Distributed More Fairly? (Research Report)
Richard W. Johnson, Benjamin G. Southgate

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System has been grossly underfunded for the past decade. State policymakers have responded by cutting plan benefits for new hires and raising teachers’ required plan contributions. These changes, however, have undermined teachers’ retirement income security. Only 35 percent of new hires will receive pensions worth more than the value of their required plan contributions. Most new hires would have better financial outcomes if they could opt out of the mandatory retirement plan and invest their contributions elsewhere. Additional plan reforms should focus on changing the benefit formula to distribute pensions more equitably across the workforce.

Posted to Web: December 05, 2014Publication Date: December 05, 2014

Evaluating Retirement Income Security for Illinois Public School Teachers (Research Report)
Richard W. Johnson, Benjamin G. Southgate

The financial problems afflicting Illinois’s teacher pension plan have grabbed headlines. An equally important problem, though underappreciated, is that relatively few teachers benefit much from the plan. Long-serving teachers receive generous pensions, but only 18 percent of teachers remain employed for at least 25 years. Only 24 percent of those who complete at least five years of service receive pensions worth more than the value of their required plan contributions. Alternative plan designs, such as cash balance plans, could distribute benefits more equitably and put more teachers on a path to a financially secure retirement.

Posted to Web: July 30, 2014Publication Date: July 30, 2014

Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success: Key Themes from an Urban Institute Roundtable (Research Report)
Olivia Golden, Karina Fortuny

The growing presence of young children of immigrants is changing the demographic makeup of classrooms, yet debates about early education and school reform often do not mention them. As high-quality education for all becomes a prominent policy and political goal, key questions remain unanswered about whether schools and early childhood programs are addressing their needs. This paper summarizes the Urban Institute's 2010 roundtable "Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success" discussion, which focused on the specific needs of young children of immigrants.

Posted to Web: April 27, 2011Publication Date: April 22, 2011

Power Play? Teacher Characteristics and Class Assignments (Research Report)
Demetra Kalogrides, Susanna Loeb, Tara Beteille

While prior research has documented differences in the distribution of teacher characteristics across schools serving different student populations, few studies have examined how teacher sorting occurs within schools. Comparing teachers who teach in the same grade and school in a given year, we find less experienced, minority, and female teachers are assigned students with lower average prior achievement, more prior behavioral problems, and lower prior attendance rates than their more experienced, white and male colleagues. Though more effective (higher value-added ) teachers and those with advanced degrees are also assigned less difficult classes, controlling for these factors does not eliminate the association between experience, race, gender, and assignments. These patterns have negative implications for teacher retention given the importance of working conditions for teachers' career decisions.

Posted to Web: April 01, 2011Publication Date: March 23, 2011

Students and Teachers Fare Better Under Effectiveness-Based Teacher Layoffs, Studies Find (Press Release)

Faced with budget shortfalls, states and localities are considering cuts to K-12 education, including reductions in teaching staff. Consequently, governors, lawmakers, and school officials are taking a second look at seniority provisions in their collective bargaining agreements and weighing the costs and benefits of the prevailing system under which the last hired is typically the first fired.

Posted to Web: March 08, 2011Publication Date: March 08, 2011

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