why we need to eliminate teri

money-treeAs you know, TERI (Teacher and Empolyee Retention Incentive) was developed to give incentives to seasoned teachers. TERI’s original good intentions were to fill a gap of needed experienced teachers. These good intentions did not materialize, however, as our research summary below will show.

TERI was designed to keep experienced teachers in the classroom longer thereby alleviating the looming teacher shortage. By that measure, it has failed. The State Department of Education website noted in late 2006 that, “The situation for K-12 education in South Carolina’s public schools is critical. Over the next decade we will face a shortage of as many as 40,000 teachers.” Clearly, TERI did little, if anything, to alleviate this problem, nor should it have been expected to.

Meanwhile, of course, TERI saddled South Carolina with myriad problems. First, the state Supreme Court ruled it open to all state employees. TERI, now open to everyone, along with the reduction in retirement eligibility from 30-28 years, cost the Retirement System nearly $2 billion. The majority of TERI participants do not even work in the public schools, much less teach there.

TERI costs our public colleges and universities tens of millions in compensation for leave and retirement contributions while TERI employees, of course, made no contributions to the System. That same has been true at our technical schools through.

TERI has wreaked havoc with agency management. TERI employees were, up until July 2007, employees at their demand instead of the discretion of management. That, of course destroyed the ability of managers to mange. I got many, many e-mails and letters from frustrated state employees who complained that TERI employees who refused to leave made advancement nearly impossible. Many frustrated employees simply left.

TERI did absolutely nothing to help South Carolina. It placed a massive burden on the Retirement System, destroyed the ability of agency managers to manage, and in no way alleviated the teacher shortage in SC.

I’m hopeful you’ll agree that TERI has shown insignificant benefit, yet has jeopardized the morale and solvency of South Carolina’s employment and post-employment systems.