Michael Podgursky

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    Author Bio:
    Michael Podgursky is Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he served as department chair from 1995-2005.  His research focuses on the economics of education.  He has written many articles in the area, with a primary focus on teacher labor markets and teacher compensation.  He serves on the board of editors of Education Finance and Policy, Peabody Journal of Education, and advisory boards for various statistical agencies and research institutes, and is a co-investigator at the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the Urban Institute and the National Center for Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University, two national research centers funded by the Institute on Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.


Choosing the Right Growth Measure

Methods should compare similar schools and teachers

SPRING 2014 / VOL. 14, NO. 2

Fixing Teacher Pensions

Is it enough to adjust existing plans?

Fall 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 4

Teacher Retirement Benefits

Even in economically tough times, costs are higher than ever.

Spring 2009 / Vol. 9, No. 2

Golden Handcuffs

Teachers who change jobs or move pay a high price

Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1

Peaks, Cliffs, and Valleys

The peculiar incentives of teacher pensions

Winter 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 1

Let the Market Decide

A 1962 RAND Corporation study on teacher pay described teacher salary schedules in the following way:

Spring 2001 / Vol. 1, No. 1

Fringe Benefits

There is more to compensation than a teacher’s salary

Summer 2003 / Vol. 3, No. 3

Quality Curricula

Public Education as a Business: Real Costs and Accountability by Myron Lieberman & Charlene K. Haar

Summer 2004 / Vol. 4, No. 3

Is There a “Qualified Teacher” Shortage?

WASHINGTON—As American schools reopen, a 15-year effort to “professionalize” the job of teacher is running up against a strong counterforce—the urgent need to fill classroom vacancies. — Christian Science Monitor, August 26, 2002 The headlines in those early years of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) were consistently alarming. “As Standards Rise, Too Few Teachers,” was […]

Spring 2006 / Vol. 6, No. 2

Blog Posts/Multimedia

The Missouri Compromise

The U.S. Department of Education’s waiver guidelines do not allow state education agencies to use the fairest type of growth model, but there is a way to get around that.


School Administrators and Teacher Pensions

School reformers need to understand that on the issue of pension reform, labor and management are likely to be on the same side of the bargaining table.


Teacher Pension Costs: High, Rising, and Out of Control

While private sector pension costs have been relatively stable at around 10.5 percent of salaries, the teacher pension costs have climbed from 11.9 percent of salaries in March 2004 to 17.0 percent today.


A Modest Proposal for Pension Reform

Fundamental reform—based on tying benefits to contributions—is needed to fix these broken systems.


Pension Reform Would Be Good for Teachers

Podcast: Robert Costrell and Michael Podgursky talk with Education Next about ways to eliminate the peculiar incentives built into current teacher pension systems.


Yes, We Have No Bananas

In a recent Education Next article we talked about winners and losers in teacher pension systems, and about the huge costs these systems impose on mobile teachers due to the back-loading of benefits. In a letter to the editor written in response to our article, Beth Almeida of the National Institute on Retirement Security takes us to task for describing this phenomenon as “redistribution,” noting that such a practice is illegal. Since we don’t want to get pension and teacher union officials in trouble, we have a modest proposal.


Teacher Pension Reform: A Way Out of the Impasse

For more than a decade, debate over reform of public pensions has been in a rut. On one side, some reformers have favored scrapping traditional teacher pension plans in favor of the IRA-type plans received by most private-sector professionals. On the other side, teacher unions, retiree groups, and defined-benefit pension plan professionals fight hard to protect existing plans. Each side has legitimate points.


Making Mountains Out of Molehills? Let the Reader Decide

A recent “Policy Memorandum” from the Economic Policy Institute by EPI researcher Monique Morrissey is sharply critical of our article “Peaks, Cliffs, and Valleys.” Morrissey has a number of critiques of our articles, but the main one, as the title suggests, is that our metaphors are inappropriate, and there is nothing at all “peculiar” about the structure of retirement incentives in teacher pensions.


The Teacher Pension Cost Gap Continues to Widen

In the Spring 2009 issue of Education Next, Robert Costrell and I presented data on the growing gap between employer pension costs for public school teachers and employer pension costs for private sector managers and professionals. This gap continues to widen.

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