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Retired Educator Says He 'Would Not Have Gone Into Teaching' With Proposed Pension Reform
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 4/22/2012 | Tom Gantert

Posted on 04/27/2012 1:55:47 PM PDT by MichCapCon

A retired Michigan teacher says he wouldn’t have gone into the profession had he known his payments for his health care in retirement were going to cost about $116 more a month than what he thought he'd have to pay.

A teacher’s pension with 30 years of service from his school district would be more than four times higher than the average private sector pension in the U.S., according to a Mackinac Center for Public Policy analysis. Pension and health care benefit packages for teachers and other government employees generally far exceed the benefits of most private sector workers.

Jim Pierson, the retired Huron Valley teacher mentioned above was highlighted on the website of the Michigan Education Association, which ran a story highlighting the testimony of Pierson talking about Senate Bill 1040, which increases public school employees’ contributions to their retirement.

The MEA wrote: "Retired Huron Valley teacher Jim Pierson called SB 1040 an example of ‘bait and switch.’ "

“Since I retired in 2010, I’ve been hit with a tax on my pension. Along with other increases, my out-of-pockets costs have doubled," the MEA quoted Pierson as saying. "I didn’t go into teaching to get rich. I sacrificed lower pay for greater security. None of this was in my retirement plans. If I had seen this coming, I would not have gone into teaching.”

MEA Spokesman Doug Pratt didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center, estimated that a retiree from Pierson’s school district with a two-person health care plan would see monthly premiums increase from about $155 a month to $271 a month. If that employee was on Medicare, the monthly payments would be significantly less, Van Beek said in an email.

The MEA also quoted Gary Olson, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, as saying the average pension was $20,000 a year, which “barely keeps a couple above the poverty line.”

However, according to a Congressional Research Service 2008 report, people with government pensions had a median pension of $18,000 a year while private-sector median pensions were $7,584 a year.

A Huron Valley teacher at the top of the pay scale with a master’s degree would earn $70,260, and with 30 years of service would receive a pension of $31,500 a year, Van Beek said. That pension increases 3 percent every year.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, took exception to Pierson’s claim that he sacrificed lower pay when he went into teaching.

"It’s a long-standing urban legend that teachers say they aren’t making as much in the public sector than if they worked in the private sector," Drolet said.

He pointed to the arguments that the MEA has made for years that outsourcing public school jobs via privatization meant lower pay and benefits for school employees.

“These folks honestly believe these things," Drolet said. "They are actually indignant because they are so far removed from the realities of the rest of society.”

TOPICS: Education; Government
KEYWORDS: michigan; pension

1 posted on 04/27/2012 1:55:54 PM PDT by MichCapCon
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To: MichCapCon
Realistically, it doesn't matter what the retired teacher believes.

What the taxpayer thinks is important.

I don't know about Michigan, but these school levys have been routinely voted down here in Ohio.

The last time our school district passed a levy, like seven years ago, the bulk of the money went to making good unfunded commitments to the teacher's union fund.

They tried to sneak it around the taxpayer and are now exposed for the public-sector unionists they are.

2 posted on 04/27/2012 2:02:44 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: MichCapCon
look...I don't like bashing teachers because I had great teachers years and years sister is a retired teacher.....but come on folks...its a relatively easy degree and some of them are not the brightest and best brains in the world....their work is relatively short, with mulitple days off, and good wages and excellent benefits....

in my day, the guys who didn't want to be drafted went into teaching....nuff said...

3 posted on 04/27/2012 2:05:26 PM PDT by cherry
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To: MichCapCon
I want to add that I don't think you have to be Einstein to teach..the best teachers are the ones who love what they do, are enthusiastic, and caring about the kids....

but those are qualities that are not always showing, sadly...

I'll take my old nun teachers anyday of the this day, the best teachers I ever had were elderly nuns who knew their stuff and were quite the disciplinarians...God love em and bless them...

4 posted on 04/27/2012 2:08:33 PM PDT by cherry
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To: cherry

Once they can show me that they are getting their job done then I will listen. The last time I checked Michigan was 37th in the country for education.

Go cry me a river. You are not doing the job you are paid for and you still want more. Boo Ho.

5 posted on 04/27/2012 2:16:20 PM PDT by jimpick
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To: MichCapCon

Everybody wants the government to be a pyramid scheme for them.

6 posted on 04/27/2012 2:22:31 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: jimpick

And what about the retired Military Veterans? They got really low pay, risked their lives in wars, were told they would have free medical for the rest of their lives, but now they have co-pays for meds, and if over 65, they have to pay for Medicare. They didn’t get 3 months off every summer. They didn’t get Christmas and Easter Breaks, or all the other time off that teachers get.

7 posted on 04/27/2012 2:26:15 PM PDT by usflagwaver
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Can I ask a silly question: How come these retirees (and even those currently employed) don’t sue their unions for mis-representation? Don’t the unions negotiate on their behalf and “lock in” contracts that lay-out the benefits to be received?

8 posted on 04/27/2012 2:27:22 PM PDT by jettester (I got paid to break 'em - not fly 'em)
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To: MichCapCon

Had I known my kid was being taught to hate his country I would not have sent him to your lousy class D-bag.

9 posted on 04/27/2012 2:42:51 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
He should be glad he isn't teaching in Cleveland Public Schools, which just laid off 500 teachers plus staff. For all the morons who voted to repeal SB5 last Fall, "this one's for you."
10 posted on 04/27/2012 3:02:20 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Huskrrrr
"Had I known my kid was being taught to hate his country I would not have sent him to your lousy class D-bag."

I feel for you. I had a really lovely sister that was corrupted by the Womyn's Studies program of a ivy league school. I can still remember my dear departed father stating "these people are communists!". As a WWII vet he knew what we were too dumb and naive to know.

11 posted on 04/27/2012 3:10:39 PM PDT by NoExpectations
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To: NoExpectations

I’m sorry to hear that.

12 posted on 04/27/2012 3:13:24 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: MichCapCon

I went into teaching after a successful career in computer programming because I became concerned that I was teaching kids from India, not America, to program computers and that our kids were so ignorant as to believe in global warming.

I felt we simply had to do a better job of teaching our children if we wished to survive.

I now know I was a fool but my motives were noble.

13 posted on 04/27/2012 3:24:01 PM PDT by Aevery_Freeman (Typed using <FONT STYLE=SARCASM> unless otherwise noted)
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To: Aevery_Freeman

Noble motives as far as I am concerned are the best. I gave up a job as a systems testing and integration engineer to go teach Naval Officers strategy and tactics(how to defend their ships) and enlisted personnel how to operate and maintain their radar systems. What I found scared me. I am making waves now and things are starting to happen to improve the quality of instruction. Keep up the fight.... make waves voice you opinion and keep on fighting. It may not improve but at least you will be able to go to bed at night knowing you are trying to make a difference.

14 posted on 04/27/2012 4:31:34 PM PDT by SouthernBoyupNorth ("For my wings are made of Tungsten, my flesh of glass and steel..........")
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