In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Teachers Deserve a Comprehensive Support System

The Kauffman Foundation recently published a report on how well existing pension plans service charter and urban teachers in Missouri.

In an editorial column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dane Stangler, vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation, and Aaron North, vice president of education at Kauffman, reveal the issues behind Missouri's fractured educator retirement system.

Read an excerpt of the editorial below.

Simplify Missouri's teacher pension plans

Because most of the pension value accrues in the final years of an educator's career, the typical new teacher in Kansas City or St. Louis does not benefit from the current system.

Based on our research, we estimate the likelihood that a traditional public school teacher in St. Louis stays in the profession long enough to earn the maximum pension benefit to be about 4 percent.

In other words, 96 percent of teachers in St. Louis will leave prior to reaching the full benefit and the percentage is comparable in Kansas City (approximately 3 percent).

When it comes to public education, we are all stakeholders. Our report was written from that perspective with the hope that it would begin a constructive dialogue about how to better support teachers in their vital task of educating all of our community's children.

Our research shows that urban teachers are ill-served by Missouri's maintenance of three separate pension plans among which there is no reciprocity.

We now owe it to teachers to have a conversation about how to ensure the current system can be strengthened to best support them.

Read the rest of the column on StLtoday.com and view the full research report.