Want to Retire Early?

Go to Michigan! The state wants you to retire. Save the state money and retire, so they can higher younger teachers at a lower cost.

The perceived benefits are:

  • saving schools money,
  • allowing younger teachers to be hired, and
  • bringing into the state younger teachers with kids to boost enrollments.

While those who accept the retirement will receive a 1/3 bump in retirement pay, I think this is a fairly cynical policy decision. How much experience and expertise is lost? From bloggers around the nation, I hear that teacher shortages rather than surpluses are the norm, so is this sound policy? I also wonder about younger teachers putting families on their insurance. Will this deplete the coffers at the same or greater rate?

I tend to joke that I’ll die in the classroom one day (I hope the students notice unlike the poor “ditto king” in the movie Teachers), but I joke about it because I can’t imagine affording retirement the way the economy is going. Granted, I have quite a few years to go, but I still think forced retirements seem to suggest that certain people, based on age really, are less coveted and valuable.

What do you think? Would you take the deal? Is this good policy?


8 thoughts on “Want to Retire Early?

  1. Cheryl

    My district is looking at doing this, but it would be to avoid teacher layoffs and larger class sizes in the face of California’s budget mess, not to rehire with younger. The idea of new teachers bringing in their own children seems silly to me– I don’t quite get how that would have much of an impact.

    I think it’s good policy ONLY if it means avoiding the layoff of existing teachers. It’s crazy the number of teachers expecting to receive notices this year here in California, where we are supposedly experiencing teacher shortages. If thousands of teachers are laid off this year, the short-sightedness will cost our state dearly in shortages a few years down the road.

    Wish I could move to Michigan–sounds like there may be some jobs there if I lose my own, which seems likely at this point.

  2. Melissa

    It’s interesting to hear this coming from Michigan, because at my school in South Carolina we have MANY young teachers who have moved here from Michigan (and other northern or midwestern states) because they were unable to find teaching jobs there. I wonder if it’s related to this issue.

    While I don’t think this is the best policy, I expect to see it more in the coming years. These are trying economic times and like my district, everyone is cutting corners in every way possible. (E.g. Two weeks from now, all substitute use in my district will be eliminated except for a few very specific long-term situations.)

    Older, more experienced teachers cost more, and are therefore seen as a greater financial burden. Some people would also say that many of these older teachers are out of touch and should make way for fresher, more recently educated college grads.

  3. Mrs. Chili

    It’s a horrible policy (I was going to use a different adjective there, but decided to keep it polite…). We cannot simultaneously force out good, qualified, experienced teachers and whine that our kids aren’t getting the education they need and deserve.

    A mix of ages, experiences, genders, races, and orientations is what I think we need in all our educational environments. “Older” teachers doesn’t equal “out of touch” teachers any more than “newer” teachers equals hip and “with it.” Having a community of educators who each bring different gifts to the students is the only way we’re going to even begin to solve the problems in our system.

  4. pHanson

    Seemingly from the opposite end of the spectrum, I don’t necessarily mind the policy. I’m currently in the midst of getting my teaching certificate in Washington, and see a rather bleak job market. I agree, to an extent, with the idea that it might force out more experienced teachers. But if the teacher has their eye on the door, do you necessarily want them to continue teaching? Do you want them to teach because they feel like they don’t have any alternative?

    Of course the state will lose experienced teachers. But are all experienced teachers quality teachers? The state isn’t forcing them out either, they are giving the veteran teachers a chance to see retirement as an option.

  5. drpezz Post author

    I think the economy could be prohibitive when looking at retirements. These retiring teachers could go from $75,000 to $45,000 a year even with the bump in pay. That’s quite a cut in a tough economy. I wonder how many will take the early out.

    I still think the policy has quite an underlying layer of cynicism and am curious to see what happens.

  6. Clix

    I’m with Hanson on this – nobody is FORCING the teachers to retire. They’re offering an additional incentive. Teachers who really want or need to stay are going to stay. But teachers who are only there for the check? Well… there are other jobs that are a lot less demanding.

    As much as I love what I do, if I could afford to quit working, I would. I would totally quit my job and go exploring.

  7. Clix

    Well, see, there ya go! Obviously, they were taken by the teachers who weren’t gung-ho about staying in the classroom. Now the state has an opportunity to fill their positions with teachers who are hopeful and excited about being there.


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