The 2006 legislative session in Maryland witnessed a major debate about the adequacy of teacher pensions. Advocates of increases in teacher pensions argued that the state’s defined benefit plan was the “worst in the nation” and was hampering the recruitment and retention of teachers. They also argued that Maryland was losing experienced teachers to Pennsylvania, which purportedly had a more generous pension plan.
Such debates are not unique to Maryland. Many states are struggling to finance under-funded teacher pension systems as well as recruit and retain a high-quality teaching workforce. Thus a careful examination of the Maryland debate holds lessons for other states.
This paper compares Maryland’s former (prior to Spring, 2006) teacher pension system to those in Pennsylvania and several other states.