Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Pension Reform and the Late-Career Teacher Retention Problem

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Johnson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Cory Koedel1, Shawn Ni2 and Michael Podgursky1, (1)University of Missouri, (2)University of Missouri, Columbia
A vast research literature is devoted to describing and attempting to explain early-career teacher attrition. However, much less attention has been paid to late-career attrition among experienced teachers, which is driven largely by teachers shifting into retirement. Late-career teacher attrition is a notable phenomenon for several reasons. First, although there is some variation across states, it is generally the case that late-career teachers exit the profession when they are much younger than their private-sector professional counterparts. Second, because of the well-documented returns to teaching experience, on a per-teacher basis late-career exits are much more costly to students in K-12 schools than early-career exits, on average. Third, unlike early-career attrition, which is caused by a myriad of factors, it is straightforward to identify the primary factor that contributes to late-career teachers exiting the profession at relatively young ages – the pension structure – and thus develop policy solutions. This study first documents the magnitude and consequences of late-career teacher attrition in two states, and then examines the potential for using targeted policies to retain late-career teachers further into the standard career cycle, particularly highly-effective teachers.