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Old 04-20-2010, 08:21 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
s.

So I had it in the back of my mind -- work as an aide for 10-15 years, then work to get teacher certification and become a teacher for the last 5 years. The pension benefit would be the same as if she were a teacher for the entire 20 years even though her contributions to the plan were based on an aide's pay for most of it.
This is what I would call a badly run pension plan---IMO, of course. In Pennsylvania, you have to be a tenured professional staff member to be vested in the system. Aides are not part of the public school retirement system, nor are para's. Like you described this is just a pattern for abuse of the system.

Z
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:37 AM   #62
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I think I understood what you said, but I still don't understand your reason for saying it. ISTM it could be one of two things:
  1. The penalty for retiring early should be 5% or so because that's the difference in the actuarial value of the two pensions, or
  2. The penalty for retiring early should be 5% or so, even though that is more than the difference in actuarial value between the two pensions.
Which did you mean? and if the second, what difference does it make when people retire, as long as the actuarial value of each pension is the same? If, over a large number of teachers, the cost to the pension system is the same whether a teacher retires after 26 years with a $69K pension, or after 30 years with a $75K pension, IMO there is no benefit to anyone from forcing the first teacher to stick around for another four years.

Or did you mean something else altogether?
Since I'm not an actuary by even the remotest stretch of the imagination, I defer to your well thought out and described position regarding this. I'll assue that you are correct.

My point is that after 27 years many teachers are burned out, and at the moment with the incredibly stupid rules of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND law, which by political fiat has simply removed the normal curve, has accelerated this. While those not working in education might see not any problem with removing everything but reading and math from an elementary child's curriculum, this is very debilitating for the education of children, and even more so for professional teachers. I personally know about 10 teachers in my system who are the best in the system who are leaving earlier that they wanted to do so because of this kind of pressure.

I agree that its no benefit to force sticking around. After a certain number of years you become suddenly burned out. But many have to stick around because the difference between a defined benefit plan that for the rest of their lives is a significant % down, means something over time. I can't understand that from a pension standpoint, paying the retired teacher $69k A YEAR as opposed to $75K a year multiplied by maybe 100,000 teachers(600 million dollars per year) wouldn't fail to help the system.

Agreed though, it may not help the education of children to have teachers who no longer care. And, caring is a significant part of being an effective teacher.

Z
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:32 AM   #63
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The problem with education is, it is run by educators!
...and the NEA, which values membership over stewardship.
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:55 AM   #64
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Wow -- if there was no fluctuation of principal, that sounds like an even better deal than the G fund...
It is... no reduction in principal....
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:57 AM   #65
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Well actually, I have paid into social security for almost 155 quarters, too. Some public plans deny their members from having SS taken out of their paychecks. Beyond me why. But I paid into the ss system out of paychecks with two employers since 1971.

Z
A lot do not... my sister was a teacher and also had 40 years (maybe 41...)... and she only paid SS on her part time wages when she was young... so I am surprised that you did...
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:07 PM   #66
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Lots of public employees are already in the Social Security system. I am (local government employee in Washington state), and so is my mother (retired schoolteacher, taught in NY, CA & WA and was in SS in at least one of these). Which government entities' employees are not in SS?
A large number in Texas....
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:55 PM   #67
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A large number in Texas....
Illinois teachers....

http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2010/04/05/teachers-look-again-social-security
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:19 PM   #68
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A lot do not... my sister was a teacher and also had 40 years (maybe 41...)... and she only paid SS on her part time wages when she was young... so I am surprised that you did...
IN PA, there is no law that prevents it. So.... it is taken out of our paychecks by our employers. And actually, I'm pretty sure that I read it int he regs, the law only applies to employers taking it out. I think people are welcome to pay into the SS system on their own, and get the same benefits.
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:20 PM   #69
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Once you get 120 quarters in the system, you are called permanent. And you will always be eligible for the benefits no matter what.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:23 PM   #70
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Solvency in what? This might work for a private corporation. Public institutions don't have these options.
Taxpayers and state and local govts can get to solvency if they want to, most don't want the political fallout from trying to do just that........

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In regards to teacher pensions: States and school districts, with the power to tax, don't declare bankruptcy.
What if the taxpayers refuse to pay increased property taxes? That has happened in our community, and the school has been making cuts because of it. Despite all that, the school district is one of the best in the state, and the elementary school my son attends just won a national Blue Ribbon School award, one of only 8 in the state and 300 nationally.....its not as dire as the union would lead us to believe.........

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There is no measure of productivity in a teaching district due to the fact that the children must be taught. Free and appropriate public education is the LAW. And teachers cannot be fired without cause, again, the law.
Performanced-based teacher pay has been discussed ad nauseum forever in this country. Teacher's unions almost universally have fought it tooth and nail. Public education is not "free". Until there is a useful tool to measure teacher performance, you will continue to have issues.........
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:22 PM   #71
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This is what I would call a badly run pension plan---IMO, of course. In Pennsylvania, you have to be a tenured professional staff member to be vested in the system. Aides are not part of the public school retirement system, nor are para's. Like you described this is just a pattern for abuse of the system.
I don't think it's necessarily bad that the paraprofessionals (including the aides) get to participate in the TRS; after all, in a very real sense they are educators. The problem only comes if someone earns a "late career promotion" and gets a pension that effectively credits them with being in a much higher "pay grade" for the duration.

If it included, say, some inflation-adjusted "average salary" such that someone with 20 years as an aide and 5 as a teacher got a pension that was effectively "weighted" to be 80% of an aide's pension plus 20% of a teacher's pension, that would be reasonable. But there are a lot of ways to play various types of spiking games in some plans. This isn't "spiking" per se, but it is a way to game the system in a way that provides people more benefit than they've earned with their service and contributions to the plan.
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:45 PM   #72
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Expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new teacher's salary compared with that of a teacher with 20 years' experience?
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:53 PM   #73
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Expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new teacher's salary compared with that of a teacher with 20 years' experience?
Good question. While we're at it I'd also like to know......

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new doctor's salary compared to a a doctor with a specialty and 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new corporate executive compared to an executive up the ladder and with 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new lawyer at the bottom of the corporate ladder with a lawyer with 20 years of experience in trial litigation?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new CFP with one who has been in the business for 20 years?

All of these are important comparisons.

Z
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:57 PM   #74
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Good question. While we're at it I'd also like to know......

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new doctor's salary compared to a a doctor with a specialty and 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new corporate executive compared to an executive up the ladder and with 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new lawyer at the bottom of the corporate ladder with a lawyer with 20 years of experience in trial litigation?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new CFP with one who has been in the business for 20 years?

All of these are important comparisons.

Z
My goodness. I was just inquiring as to the specific example that ziggy29 has been talking about for months as being a bit inequitable. I don't understand how the other comparisons you suggest pertain to that. I guess I'll back out of the discussion NOW. (tiptoe-ing away)
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:00 PM   #75
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My goodness. I was just inquiring as to the specific example that ziggy29 was saying is inequitable.
Actually in my example (15 years as an aide, 5 as a teacher) the appropriate comparison would be between 5 years experience versus 20, not zero versus 20.

I believe that's about 70%. It's not like their pension doubles by being on a pay scale twice as high, but they do get a decent kicker and more than they should relative to what they paid in.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:12 PM   #76
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My goodness. I was just inquiring as to the specific example that ziggy29 has been talking about for months as being a bit inequitable. I don't understand how the other comparisons you suggest pertain to that. I guess I'll back out of the discussion NOW. (tiptoe-ing away)

Seemed like an interesting thing to know. You don't have to tiptoe away. There are enormous inequities in the world. Right now after all the civil rights stuff, except for public education, women always make about 88% less than men on average in the highly touted example business world that everyone in education is supposed to emulate.

I don't know how an aide in my system could be "promoted" to a teacher. Teachers need a full four year degree, and then virtually a masters after 5 years to keep teaching. Almost eveyone with more than five years of experience in PA has a masters degree. Aides generally have a high school diploma. A few have college degrees, but they have been out of it so long that they couldn't possibly pass the praxis exam in the area of education to be "highly qualified" under the mandatory No Child Left Behind legislation.

Its a well known fact that educators should make less that other similiarly trained and experienced professionals because those people leech their money out of us through product costs which is just ok, and the educators do it from taxes, which is just not OK.

Just my observation after 40 years in the education business.

Not to be perceived as everywhere; your environment may be different.

Z
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:17 PM   #77
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I don't know how an aide in my system could be "promoted" to a teacher. Teachers need a full four year degree, and then virtually a masters after 5 years to keep teaching. Almost eveyone with more than five years of experience in PA has a masters degree. Aides generally have a high school diploma. A few have college degrees, but they have been out of it so long that they couldn't possibly pass the praxis exam in the area of education to be "highly qualified" under the mandatory No Child Left Behind legislation.
For one thing, she already has a four year degree. And it's a small, rural district on a pretty low pay scale that sometimes has trouble attracting fully certified teachers. Many rural districts use the "alternative certification" available in Texas to address problems like rural areas and math/science teachers. It's a 1-2 year program that takes folks with a bachelor's degree, meets on weekends and in the summer for the training and coursework. At the end of it, if you pass through the hoops, you're a certified teacher.

Sounds like your opinion of aides and their ability is pretty low, by the way.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:53 PM   #78
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Good question. While we're at it I'd also like to know......

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new doctor's salary compared to a a doctor with a specialty and 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new corporate executive compared to an executive up the ladder and with 20 years of experience?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new lawyer at the bottom of the corporate ladder with a lawyer with 20 years of experience in trial litigation?

And expressed as a percentage, what is the ratio of a brand new CFP with one who has been in the business for 20 years?

All of these are important comparisons.

Z
Geez, it was a question from W2R, not an indictment.

It is answerable, I picked an IL district from this site:

Champion News

and found about a 3:1 spread, with ~ $39,000 for 1 year full-time teachers, and ~ $116,500 for those with 27-33 years experience.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think where your analogy breaks down is, in the comparison cases you mentioned, those with more experience would also be given more responsibility and have a different job description. As far as I know, there are no higher standards set for a 5th grade teacher with 20 years experience versus one with 2 years experience. They are expected to teach the 5th graders. Hopefully, the one with experience is better at it (or maybe it comes 'easier' to them with experience, so they should be paid less might be some people's thinking?), but I don't think they say - your kids have to score higher on the standardized tests, or anything. To be honest, I can't say I've seen much correlation between years OTJ and performance with my kids teachers. They've had some terrible teachers who were there a long time, and some great ones that were new to teaching, and vice versa.

At Mega-Corp, you were put in a "Job Grade". There was a range of pay for that grade (I forget how wide it was), but if you were performing middling work, you would be in the middling pay range for that grade. Pretty much regardless of time-in-grade - if you were higher up the scale within that grade, it would be because those years of experience translated to performance, not simply how long you were there. You didn't move up in grade based on years, it was based on performance.

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Old 04-20-2010, 05:03 PM   #79
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Geez, it was a question from W2R, not an indictment.

It is answerable, I picked an IL district from this site:

Champion News

and found about a 3:1 spread, with ~ $39,000 for 1 year full-time teachers, and ~ $116,500 for those with 27-33 years experience.
Just looked up the numbers in my district. Teachers start at about $35,000 and go up to $51,000 after 20 years. After 40 years it's still only $58,000. It's pretty hard to claim teachers are overpaid here.

In contrast, aide pay here for 20 years is about $21,000. So you can see what a pop it can give to a pension by spending the last 5 years as a teacher, even if you had to start at the "0 year" on the teacher pay scale.

Maybe now Z can see why there aren't a huge number of teachers with masters degrees and impeccable "academia" credentials in this district -- and why there can sometimes be recruiting problems. Funny thing is, our district has much better outcomes than many districts that pay a lot more, but that's another discussion for another time. I'd say the taxpayers here are getting a pretty good deal compared to most in the country...
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:04 PM   #80
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Almost eveyone with more than five years of experience in PA has a masters degree.
And why is that? Apparently it isn't a requirement, or everyone would need to have it, rather than 'almost everyone'. From what I know in IL, since there is no such thing as a 'merit' raise for teachers, getting a Masters is one certifiable way to get a raise.

Have studies been done to correlate that degree with performance? I wonder how it is I've been happy with many of the new teachers (and old) without their Masters?


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Its a well known fact that educators should make less that other similiarly trained and experienced professionals because those people leech their money out of us through product costs which is just ok, and the educators do it from taxes, which is just not OK.
I don't understand why you get so snarky about this. It isn't even a good comparison. Once I'm taxed, I really don't have much say in which teachers my kids get. Or I might not even have kids in the system.

But I have a choice in products, and if one company is 'leeching' me to over-pay their workers beyond the value they put into their products, I will go to their competition. Give me that choice in schools, and let's see what happens?

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