Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Here are our top stories:

OPINION: Alaska is paying the price for its poor retirement system changes by Kathy Wright. In her op-ed for Anchorage Daily News, retired teacher Kathy Wright states that the lack of retirement security is why Alaska struggles to retain teachers and administrators. Alaska closed its Teacher Retirement System pension plan in 2005, offering new employees a defined-contribution retirement plan. This decision not only cost Alaska its educators but also a significant amount of money–$20 million per year. As NPPC has covered, defined contribution plans are not a secure retirement option for teachers and other public employees. It is important to note that teachers do not receive Social Security in many states, which is also the case in Alaska. Pensions are essential to recruiting and retaining qualified educators. Taking them away from the dedicated public servants working daily to support their communities eventually costs in the long run. 

Could Retired Teachers Be the Answer to Shortages? It’s Complicated by Madeline Will. The ongoing shortage of educators across the country is prompting lawmakers to take action to ensure that there is someone in the classroom to teach children. Some solutions involve loosening restrictions on who is qualified to teach– allowing veterans and college students to fill those positions temporarily. Others have provided financial incentives to bring retirees back to the classroom by allowing them to earn a paycheck on top of their pension. Heather Peske, the National Council on Teacher Quality president, said, “Generally, bringing back retired teachers is probably a better approach than simply lowering the bar for new teachers.” However, many people question whether bringing retirees back into the classroom is the answer to educator shortages. As NPPC has covered before, the deficit of educators leaving the classroom compared to those replacing them is not an issue that should be taken lightly. Many issues within the teacher pipeline need to be addressed. However, providing teachers with a pension and secure retirement is a great place to start.

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!