California teacher pensions vary widely depending on when teachers begin their careers and how long they teach. Teachers who spend their entire careers in the plan receive large pensions. However, teachers who join the plan at relatively young ages and spend less than full careers in the classroom accumulate few retirement benefits, and those benefits are often worth less than the value of the teachers’ required plan contributions. As policymakers address the California teacher pension plan’s funding problems, they should consider altering the plan’s benefit formula to more equitably distribute pension benefits across the workforce.
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