Research shows IL students test scores improve when teachers retire.

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently completed a study which showed that student test scores in math and reading improved after Illinois teachers were offered the ERI (Early Retirement Incentive) in the 1990’s. The ERI gave teachers with at least 5 years’ experience and at least 50 years of age a free 5 year add-on to their years of service credit encouraging more than 10,000’s of teachers to retire early. This resulted in more than 10,000 of novice teachers to be hired as replacements.

The net effect of the ERI was to transfer costs from the local taxpayers for salaries to the state taxpayers via pension costs. The school saves money and gets better teaching while the state gets less money via teacher contributions. This is because the retiring teachers had higher salaries therefore they paid more into the pension system than their lower salaried replacements.

So what happened? It turns out students did better with the inexperienced teachers than they did with the teachers who retired. The retiring teachers averaged 27 years’ experience and for a comparison, in 2012 teachers with 27 years or more experience averaged $85,000 in salary in Illinois.

Let’s take a look at District 211 in Palatine to see how much money this would be in 2012. We will use Phys Ed teachers as our comparison to see the salary differential between senior members of the staff and inexperienced teachers of the same subject. Keep in mind Dist. 211 full-time Phys Ed teachers an average salary of $105,000 for all of 14 years’ experience.

So here are the Top 3 Phys Ed teacher salaries compared to the Bottom 3 Phys Ed salaries. You can see the annual savings ($323,043) to the district when senior teachers are replaced with newbies.


District 211 – Palatine Top 3 vs. Bottom 3 Phys ED Salaries FY 2012
Top Salary Years Bottom Salry Years Savings
Fidler    175,816 32 Ragano      61,886 1    113,930
Donatucci    168,173 33 Belmonte      61,156 1    107,017
Travers    162,399 34 McCloskey      60,304 2    102,095
Total Savings>>    323,043

For more details here is the link to the Wall Street Journal Article and for the more nerdy readers a link to the actual research paper too.

Wall Street Journal

National Bureau of Economic Research

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  1. Bruno_Behrend says:

    We need to question the entire notion of “lifetime teaching.” Why should we pay more for older teachers and more again for their retirement?

    If they don’t perform, let them go. If they are good, they can tutor.

    • LennieJarratt says:


    • contestjoiner says:

      There should be an automatic resignation age for teachers. Either based on years of experience or chronological age. They could then re-enter the work force just in time to qualify for food stamps, HARP and TANF.

      • Bruno_Behrend says:

        Well stated!


        They can join the army of people they helped put on those programs by failing to educate them despite getting over $10K/yr/child to do so.

        Kidding aside, I don’t blame the teachers as much as I blame the horrible system they defend. As bad as the system is, the teachers are the only ones who do any actual work.

        Sadly, they defend this failed system because of golden handcuffs of the political clout the buys them protection from competition and above market pay and pensions.

        They never seem to realize that the collapsing public support is a function of their unflagging support of a system just starting it’s well-deserved decline.

        If money followed the child to a vast new array of independent education options, teachers would have more autonomy, more impact, and more control of their destiny – possibly with higher pay for the best and most innovative.

        As it is, they have lashed themselves to a corrupt, greedy, and sinking ship – the American “government education complex.”

        • contestjoiner says:

          Enron Elementary, Haliburton High School. Marquis de Sade Special Education School. Sounds great.

          • Bruno_Behrend says:

            Typical retreat to liberal boogeymen when confronted with ending the Enron-esque greed of public ed.

            Bond Dealer Elementary, Union High, Permanent Underclass Babysitting Academy…

            Blah blah blah

            You have no case. At the very least, your corrupt government monopoly deserves competition, and if Haliburton does a better job, more power to them.

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