Pension status quo: No one benefits

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With the time clock counting down until we fall off the fiscal cliff, forgive us for tightening that knot in your stomach by drawing attention to another gaping fiscal hole: the $390 billion shortfall in our teacher pension systems.

In No One Benefits, our new report released today, NCTQ examines how teacher pension systems are failing both teachers and taxpayers. In addition to a 50-state analysis of the funding crisis, we explore the technical and sometimes hidden features of teacher pensions that make them so costly and identify the features of these systems that aren't fair, advantageous or beneficial to all teachers.

We find states nibbling around the edges--in ways that put the squeeze on districts and teachers--rather than summoning the collective will to take on comprehensive reform. But with districts paying an average of $1,200 more per teacher in annual pension contributions (and teachers paying almost $500 more) than just a few years ago, something has got to give.

Here's hoping this time next year we're looking back at 2013 as the Year of Pension Reform.