Pensions are good for the education system, the National Institute for Retirement Security found in an October report. Defined-benefit plans serve an important function in the public school system by retaining teachers and save money by reducing turnover.
Pensions aren’t simply a tool to retain teachers, though, the study found. A teacher’s productivity increases sharply within the first three to five years of teaching, according to the study; retaining teachers who are farther along in their careers increases average productivity.
“Each time a mid-career teacher, who tends to be highly effective, leaves and is replaced by an inexperienced teacher, who tends to be less effective, the school as a whole sees a drop in average productivity.,” Ilana Boivie said in the report.
Overall, teacher turnover is relatively low, but the youngest teachers and the oldest teachers are the most likely to leave their positions, the report found. While there is a drop in productivity when a teacher leaves a school, there is also a financial cost. The report cites research from the Alliance for Excellent Education that found the cost of teacher turnover nationwide was over $2 billion in 2003, or $12,500 per teacher.