Published in: Educational Researcher, Volume 52, Issue 2, pages 57–62 (March 2023). doi: 10.3102/0013189X221108197
Posted on rand.org Mar 8, 2023
This article provides an overview for the special issue and a framework for thinking about the included papers. We begin by explaining why teacher pensions is a topic that should be of interest to the broader education research community and not just specialists in school finance or teacher compensation. Pension costs now account for 11% of K–12 operating expenditures—a share that has been steadily rising. The question for the education research community is whether these expenditures represent the best way to recruit, retain, and motivate high-quality teachers. We briefly review the current pension landscape with an explanation of how these plans work, trends in costs and expenditures, and changes that have been discussed or implemented. We then provide a brief literature review. Finally, we discuss how the articles in this special issue contribute to the literature on such topics as the influence of teacher pension policies on school staffing and workforce quality, teacher preferences for retirement plans, and the sustainability of plans.