Uh, That’s What We Said – Teacher Pension Edition

pension pig

Last month, Michael Rathbone and I released a new pension report, “Betting on the Big Returns: How Missouri Teacher Pension Plans Have Shifted to Riskier Assets.” Not unexpectedly, our report was met with some resistance by Steve Yoakum, executive director of the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS). PSRS is Missouri’s largest public employee pension system.

Yoakum penned a three page response to our paper. Yet, in his effort to discredit our work, he simply reaffirmed everything we wrote. I highlight this on the Show-Me Institute’s blog.

Our paper states that current teacher and school district contributions do not cover the existing obligations, meaning that pension plans must rely on investment returns in order to meet their obligations to members. Mr. Yoakum’s response: “Only if we exclude income from investments is this true.” It is difficult to describe this as anything but a restatement of our point.

Read more here.

April 15, Not Just Tax Day for Teachers in Missouri

For most, April 15 just marks the day that taxes are due. For teachers in Missouri, however, it marks the day by which contracts are due. If a teacher is not going to be rehired, they must be notified by this date. Mike McShane, the new director of education policy at the Show-Me Institute, and I explain why this is a needless government regulation that should be removed. Check out our latest in the Columbia Missourian.

 Charter schools are a contentious topic of conversation among many traditional public school educators. It’s not fair, they argue, that charter schools are not subject to the same regulations that public schools have to follow. Don’t compare the two sectors, they’ll tell you — public schools are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.

And you know what? They’re right. It isn’t fair that public schools are burdened with regulations that stifle their ability to serve kids.

Read it all here.

Pardon the Interruption: What Really Prevents Us from Treating Teachers Like Professional Athletes?

Originally posted on Jay P. Greene's Blog:

(Guest post by James V. Shuls)

If you’ve been in the education business or around a teacher for any significant amount of time, you have undoubtedly heard someone say something like, “Imagine if teachers were treated like professional athletes.” Well thanks to comedians Key and Peele, we no longer have to imagine. In a new segment, “Teaching Center,” the two spoof the popular ESPN show Sports Center to bring us the “top stories from the exiting world of teaching.”

The video has been a hit with teachers and is receiving a significant amount of attention on social media. Within 24 hours of being posted, it had more than a million views.  The response of most is, “Oh yeah, what if instead of paying LeBron James hundreds of millions of dollars, we did that with Mrs. Smith, the rock-star high school chemistry teacher?!?” Putting aside the economics of the…

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Was Missouri’s Interdistrict Transfer Program Poorly Designed?

Originally posted on Jay P. Greene's Blog:

(Guest Post by James Shuls)

In the early 1970s the Ford Motor Company designed the Pinto. In addition to being extremely ugly, the Pinto was extremely dangerous. A rear-end collision could cause the gas tank to rupture and ignite. For obvious reasons, the Pinto is regarded as one of the worst cars ever.

At the very least, it was poorly designed.

Many look at Missouri’s interdistrict transfer program, which has allowed more than 2,000 students from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts to transfer to higher performing suburban districts, as if it were a Pinto. It has forced the two unaccredited districts to hemorrhage and rest on the verge of bankruptcy.

Is it ugly? Yes. Is it poorly designed? It depends.

In 2013, the year before students transferred, fewer than 20 percent of students in the two unaccredited school districts were proficient in reading or math. Dropout rates…

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