Illinois Teachers Deeply Troubled About Pension Prospects, New National Poll Finds

Illinois Teachers Deeply Troubled About Pension Prospects, New National Poll Finds

Illinois Teachers’ Concerns Stand in Sharp Contrast to the Rest of the Country

Chicago, IL, March 29, 2016—Teachers in Illinois know that a pension crisis is at hand and have deep-seated concerns about their state’s retirement system, according to a new poll from Teach Plus. Teachers in other parts of the country feel the opposite and are much more confident that their pension benefits are secure.  The poll’s findings come in the wake of ongoing financial crises at Chicago Public Schools and protracted contract negotiations between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union which have resulted in a one-day strike planned for April 1.  

The nationwide poll of 708 teachers, conducted between March 16  and March 28, 2016, found that four out of five teachers in Illinois do not believe that their pensions will be paid in full—compared to two out of five teachers in the rest of the country.  The poll also found that nearly two-thirds of Illinois teachers are concerned that their state’s inadequate pension funding is taking away dollars from services to students—compared to just over one-third of teachers nationally.

Poll Findings:
1.  Compared to teachers in other states, Illinois teachers are twice as likely to believe they will not receive their full pension benefits.
2.  Teachers in Illinois are far more concerned than others that funding for pensions reduces available resources that can be used to serve students.
3.  The majority of Illinois teachers are dissatisfied with their current employer’s retirement plan in contrast to teachers in other parts of the country.
4.  In terms of the type of plan they prefer and in terms of plan portability, Illinois teachers are virtually identical to other teachers.

“The fact that Illinois’ teachers have so little confidence in their pension prospects should come as a real wake-up call for policy makers in our state,” said Josh Kaufmann, Teach Plus Chicago Executive Director.  “It is clear that we need a fiscally-responsible, comprehensive solution to the current crisis that both assures teachers of this valued career benefit and protects the much-needed student resources.”

About Teach Plus
Teach Plus empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of improvements in policy and practice: Teaching Policy Fellowship, C2 Initiative, and T3 Initiative.  The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in district, state, and national policy.  Since its inception in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 22,000 solutions-oriented teachers across the country.