To: Members of the General Court who care about education, the children, and fiscal responsibility more than they fear the Massachusetts Teachers Association

Re: Teachers Union "Early Retirement Bill"

June 14, 2000

1. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is said to have a math and science teacher shortage. So the Massachusetts Legislature wants to encourage all veteran teachers, including those who teach math and science, to retire early?

2. Some admit they want to allow all teachers to retire early in order to get rid of the bad older teachers. We're going to reward bad older teachers with early retirement at 80% pay? Is this the alternative to letting administrators fire bad teachers and pay good ones more?

3. We are told that young people will want to be teachers because of the nifty early retirement. Like others of their generation who pay into Social Security, these young teachers will have to pay more into their pensions with no guarantee that they will get the same benefits; their peers may not be politically tolerant of teachers' early retirement at taxpayers' expense.

4. Letting the retired teachers return with pension and pay is obviously just an afterthought attempt to patch the teacher shortage incentive created by the original version of the bill. Why wouldn't every eligible teacher leave just to return for pension and pay?

5. Some pro-tax legislators may feel that they owe the MTA a big favor in return for its years of support for high taxes. However, the MTA doesn't fight taxes as a favor that needs to be returned, but because its leaders are liberals who believe that more is never enough.

6. Some legislators who defy the MTA on tax issues figure they better not offend it any further, for fear that it will accuse them of not caring about "education." Do they really believe that voters equate "early retirement" with "education"?

By the way, MTA leaders threatened legislators who refused to repeal Proposition 2 in 1981 with political reprisals, to no avail. Memo to fearful Democrats: Who is the MTA going to support, Republicans? Memo to Republicans: What do you have to lose by opposing this giveaway to the MTA?

7. The early teacher retirement bill will be highly contagious. How do you say "No" to other government employees with stressful jobs who don't even have summers off?

8. Voters who themselves cannot retire early with up to 80% pensions, nor return to their jobs in two years and collect both pay and pension, might not appreciate this taxpayer-funded gift to the teachers union lobby, especially as their own retirement age increases. We hope you will be recorded on the required roll call vote in support of Governor Cellucci's veto. Support him for real long-term education reform, the children, and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth

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