This is the third in a series of blog posts introducing Fordham's latest report, Halting a Runaway Train: Reforming Teacher Pensions for the 21st Century.
The financial crisis brought increased urgency to solving the pension crunch, but few groups in K-12 public education have found relief. As Michael B.Lafferty notes in Halting a Runaway Train,
?while the market crash caused much hand-wringing, it has, to date, brought about little fundamental change in the public-pension sector. A number of states took action to increase contributions to their pension plans, raise the retirement age, and/or fiddle with benefit formulas, but these actions merely nibbled around the edges of a gigantic problem.
But while examples of organizations that manage teacher retirement benefits finding solutions are rare, they are real. In particular, Halting a Runaway Train looks to creative states and charter schools that have made meaningful, if sometimes rocky, transitions away from defined-benefit (DB) retirement plans.
The Last Frontier changes first. While states like Nebraska and Michigan have cut back on DB plans for most public workers, legislatures have proven hesitant to extend those limits to teachers. Alaska, however,...