Teacher pensions are squeezing school funding across the United States, study says

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  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2013 6:23 p.m.

    The priority for payments to government employees should be higher than any other obligation of our state government. Stop payment on the bond payments for UTOPIA, UTA, and all the other scams used to rob the taxpayer.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    June 22, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    There is hope on the horizon.... It's called Mooc's.

    It's just a matter of time until a huge percentage of the teachers will be gone. Just like Netflix and RedBox killed the Blockbuster model,
    Mooc's and internet learning will kill the 30 students-1 teacher in a classroom model. It will shift to massive amounts of students per teacher and much of the learning being done online. Maybe it's 10 years out. But it will shift eventually. This $ pressure will only accelarate the needs.

    I'm not saying the learning will be better (it might in some cases). I'm just saying education will shift to this model.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    June 22, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    To Red Shirt: In my experience as a parent of 7 kids and teacher for 32 years, now retired, the schools that had the most problem were those with very few veteran teachers. High turnover rates translate to discipline and continuity problems. As a general rule, those schools with the least discipline problems and highest parental support had higher amounts of veteran teachers - more experience at the school. New teachers are much more likely to fall for faulty philosophies and programs. Veterans have come to know what works and what doesn't.

    To the article: This pension problem is happening in those stated areas, because they are declining in student population and therefore aren't hiring new teachers to replace and pay for pensions. Declining populations are doing this in Europe as well.

    The pensions are not the problem. It's not having children that is causing the problem. Utah is not facing this problem.

  • first2third Elmo, UT
    June 21, 2013 11:00 p.m.

    I can't believe some of these comments. Wanting inexperience teachers teaching your children??? Children in this of all states should garner our highest priority of funding AND the highest expectations of quality teaching. Let's figure out a just and equitable way to evaluate teachers and pay the best ones more, just like in any other industry. I want my kids in a class with an experience, innovative teacher who uses proven techniques to enhance my child's learning AND as a society we should be willing to pay for it!

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    June 21, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    You mean a government-run benefits program has failed to do what it was intended to do and has become a money-sucking vacuum? Shocking!!! 8^O

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 20, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    The fact is it takes a lot workers to pay for the pension of one retiree.

    One estimate was that it took 17 workers to pay for the retirement of 1 person.

    So where is the left going find all these current workers? A number which grows exponentially.

    Leftest/Socialist retirement plans just do not work. They bankrupt everyone.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 20, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    To "Howard Beal" Bowling for Columbine is nothing more than propaganda that has as much credibility as a a Jr. High science teacher does for the Nobel Prize committee.

    The good teachers are beginning to leave the system because of the mandates that are coming down, and the testing requirements. There are fewer "good" teachers now than there were 20 years ago.

    Unlike piloting an aircrat, teaching can benefit from young teachers. Young teachers have not been doing the same thing over and over again for the past 10 years, which is good for a pilot, but bad for the ever changing needs of kids in schools.

    You say that many younger teachers know that they will be moving on. Tell us why they are moving on.

    What good does it do for a community if they have a school full of veteran teachers that don't adapt to the kids, and are not that good at teaching?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 20, 2013 4:11 p.m.


    I've watched "Waiting for Superman" which is an interesting documentary with some good points but far from perfect unless we want to both agree that "Bowling for Columbine" was the definitive documentary on American gun violence. I doubt you will go there.

    But more to the point. I wouldn't say that schools that had all or mostly veteran teachers is a good thing either. I would prefer a mix of teachers, that would be best. It is no doubt that young teachers can bring new ideas and enthusiasm to a school. However, a school is a community and the constant turnover happening now in public education is bad for schools pure and simple. Slow steady turnover is good. There are many good teachers in the "old guard" as you call it. I think experience counts for something. When I fly on a plane, I feel more comfortable with some experience in the cockpit, not three pilots just starting out no matter how good they think they are. Also, many younger teachers who know they are moving on don't invest as much in the school or community. Veteran teachers have made that investment, it makes a difference.

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    June 20, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    samhill, I know it doesn't bolster your argument, since you want to blame the Democratic Party for all the problems, but you forgot Republican managed Tooele County. Their problem isn't pensions, though they have tried very hard to make it into a pension problem, but they discovered a way around pensions - just lay everyone off. Perhaps while we are eagerly piling on the government workers who were promised pensions and healthcare, we should place some of the blame on the snake oil salesmen who convinced these Cities and States that all they had to do was invest in some pyramid scheme and the money would appear magically to pay these pensions.

    I wonder about the mentality of a nation that is so want to blame the victim for the evil doers acts. It takes a lot of chutzpah to do this with such conviction. I feel sorry for those who lived their lives and did what they were advised to do and now are being cast off as unwanted burdens on their money grubbing progeny. I carefully planned my retirement, but if you and your ilk get your way, I will be penniless and living in the street.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 20, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    To "Howard Beal" having lots of young teachers is great because that reduces the possibility of the "Old Guard" teachers preventing the younger ones from making changes to the school. Go and watch "Waiting for Superman", and tell us how great it is to have the older teachers keeping the status quo.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 20, 2013 10:53 a.m.


    From reading your blogs I understand you are either a veteran teacher or a retired teacher? Are you planning on giving your pension money back to the government? If so, I won't dare call you a hypocrite.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 20, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    worf: they are quitting and going somewhere else. Nearly 40% of the teachers in the district are "probationary teachers" or have three years or less experience. Now, I would like you to argue how this is good for our children. Perhaps, there a lots of teaching candidates (as you say), but obviously retaining them is problematic and our schools might as well just have turnstiles for teachers. Again, how is this good for our schools and children?

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    June 19, 2013 10:56 p.m.

    Howard Beal:

    "it is hard to attract and retain teachers"?

    Except for a few specialized subjects, or very isolated areas. Teachers are a dime a dozen. We won't run out.

    Many districts have a drawer full of applications. If teachers were under paid, they would quit and go somewhere else.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    It is almost funny to see this tragic comedy unfold, even though it had all the predictability of a sunset.

    The story of these ridiculously constructed pension plans parallels the lunacy of the municipal mismanagement of states like Illinois, California and Rhode Island, along with bankrupt cities like Stockton, San Bernadino and most recently and largest by far, Detroit. One glaring similarity that, with very few exceptions, characterizes all the worst examples, is that they were/are run with heavy Democrat majorities.

    What are we to surmise from this?

    One obvious and ominous take away is that there is a fundamental financial dysfunctionality in the mentality of many people attracted to the Democrat party.

    Furthermore, since the Federal government has been presided over by an ardently Democrat administration for the last 4.5 years and will be for at least 3.5 more, it should be no surprise that we're headed toward a very dismal financial future.

    Choices have consequences.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 19, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    Pensions were used by states and districts as ways to delay paying teachers higher salaries. Then many of these entities failed to fund these pensions properly. Both parties went into these agreements with full understanding. Retired teachers SHOULD get these pensions that they earned by fulfilling their obligations. I am all for getting rid of pensions and even health care benefits but it might be best to raise the actual salary for teachers because as it stands now, it is hard to attract and retain teachers as salaries have not expanded and these benefits are being reduced or taken away (for new hires).

  • artythesmarty milford, CT
    June 19, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    Teachers argue that tenure is necessary so that they cant be fired for personality conflicts, and a pension is needed so that they can concentrate on the kids they teach and not on their future. I dont agree, but many teachers unions use that as an argument that pension money in fact filters to the classroom as the kids benefit from having a stress free teacher..