How We Invest: Connecting Pensions and Thriving Schools

November 24, 2020
By Educator Innovator

As educators and public servants, most of us understood that we wouldn’t necessarily get rich teaching in public schools, universities, and non-profits, but we would have some stability and a modest set of benefits. But this year of COVID-19 has gotten many of us wondering about the impact of the economic downturn on that stability that we may have counted on.

It wouldn’t be surprising if some of us spend our holiday thinking about the impact on both the educational program we can design with our students and also about our own futures, including retirement. And these things might be inextricably linked.

So, support for innovative teaching and for innovative teachers are linked?

According to Anthony Randazzo, Executive Director of Equable, a bipartisan nonprofit organization that facilitates sustainable retirement plans and income security in the public sector, and his colleague Sandi Jacobs, the answer is a big ‘yes’.

“Whether you are looking through the lens of how we make sure all kids have great teachers or the opposite side, making sure all teachers have great careers and are part of a strong profession, the issues of pensions and retirement have become ever more important.”

And the COVID-19 recession has only intensified this dynamic. Some new studies suggest that U.S statewide pension funds entered the COVID-19 recession profoundly weaker than they were financially going into the Great Recession. And certainly state education budgets are suffering from the COVID-19 recession as well, which will have an impact on school budget considerations including staffing, class size, and program offerings.

Okay, so what advice is out there?

How districts navigate the conundrum of funding in the coming years will inevitably trickle down to the contracts of individual teachers, says Randazzo. So Equable advises teachers—and other public workers—to dive into the topic even though it might feel miles away from the curriculum planning and student mentorship teachers want to do.

In this webinar, Randazzo and Jacobs, a former public school teacher, lay out the problem, and share some key resources that they have put together. To learn more about how teacher pensions work, investigate the resources at Equable’s learning center. Or check out Teacher Retirement U, a tool to help you to secure your future retirement by learning more about how these systems work and how their problems can be addressed.