NC Legislators Discuss Relationship of Teacher Pension Plan to Recruitment and Retention

Raleigh, N.C. – The Hunt Institute is hosting nearly 30 North Carolina legislators this morning, June 11, for a policy discussion regarding the role teacher pensions play within the broader context of teacher recruitment and retention. Legislators will hear from resource expert Chad Aldeman, senior associate at Bellwether Education Partners, who will discuss North Carolina’s current teacher pension system, including an overview of the health of the system.

Aldeman will also review how pension plans affect teacher recruitment and retention. Pensions are often seen as a tool to help schools attract and retain teachers, but Aldeman says the evidence is more complicated.

“Pension costs are rising rapidly, and they’re driving out funds that could be going toward teacher salaries, textbooks, pre-K or arts programs, or anything else we might value in education,” Aldeman said.

Representative Pat Hurley (HD-70) said, “As someone who sits on both the Pensions and Retirement, and Education Appropriations Committees, I know how important it is that legislators have a thorough understanding of the  state’s current teacher pension system and its functions.”

Under the current North Carolina teacher pension plan, only a small group of long-serving veteran teachers receive adequate benefits, including benefits that are portable, inflation-protected, progressive, low risk and last a lifetime. In Aldeman’s recent publication, he explains that in order to afford a comfortable retirement, teachers who fall short of the adequacy targets will have to work longer, save more in their personal accounts, or rely on other forms of income in their retirement years.

“I am pleased to be a part of this learning opportunity,” said Senator Jay Chaudhuri (SD-15) “It’s important to consider the impact our teacher pension system has on districts’ ability to hire and keep great teachers.”

This series of convenings was developed to give legislators the opportunity to engage in critical conversations and dive deeper on pressing education topics. On April 30, legislators participated in a discussion on school performance grades, followed by a visit to Wake Early College on May 10 to better understand the role Cooperative Innovative High Schools play in postsecondary attainment.

“Each of these convenings provide our state leaders with evidence-based research; and we hope this, combined with local perspectives from educators and students, help better inform their decision-making,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president & CEO of The Hunt Institute. “We look forward to serving as a continued resource as our state policymakers navigate education issues in Raleigh and in the communities in which they serve.”