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By: Mark Glennon*

Bellweather Education Partners today released a national study of how horribly new and younger teachers are treated in public retirement systems around the country. Not surprisingly, Illinois is graded ‘F’ by Bellweather, though we have plenty of company.

Excess at the top is the primary reason pensions are failing, but this study is an essential reminder that it’s a different story at the bottom:

More than half of new teachers in Illinois and around the country won’t qualify for any pension at all.

Only 20% of new Illinois teachers will earn retirement savings worth at least their own contributions plus interest.


It’s a similar story for other pensions across Illinois. The system was rigged by those at the top to favor those at top, which includes union leadership that effectively has controlled the majority of the General Assembly for many years.

It’s just another reason why, as we’ve said from the beginning on this site, public sector defined benefit pensions are fundamentally corrupt and should be replaced as rapidly as the law allows.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.


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John Prochaska

The study has some arbitrary criteria, IL only has 2 teachers pension systems, Chicago & Downstate.


That’s a good point.
For those that are unaware:
Chicago = Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF).
Downstate = everything outside of Chicago = Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS).
Plus, CTPF covers non certified employees too, whereas TRS only covers certified employees (teachers and most administrators).
Non certified employees in downstate school districts are covered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
Collectively one big convoluted mess.

The Bellwether Education Partners study is flawed. The study does not address board paid TRS / employer pension pickups / salary schedule add-on / salary schedule reduction. In the majority of school districts in Illinois, teachers and administrators contribute little to nothing to their pension. Since they contribute nothing, they can go set up an IRA. Plus, teachers only work 180 days a year, so can get a summer job to accrue Social Security credits. The amount needed for a credit in 2016 is $1,260. And, a related note, one has to work 10 years to qualify for Social Security. Plus, Bellwether does not address the subject… Read more »

The very definition of a ponzi scheme. I will be out of Illinois in 5 years or so. My son is a very talented computer and electronics engineer student. He sees first-hand the lack of opportunities in illinois, he too will be looking to plant roots elsewhere. His school in Illinois can’t even get the classes he needs scheduled at Joliet Junior College, he will finish that then most likely be off to ausin Texas to finish. We are not leaving the state, this state left us.


A Ponzi scheme, plain and simple.