16 May 2008

Teacher Pensions Prompt Lawsuit

While the state await results from the potential exodus from its 401(k)-style retirement plan for educators, a lawsuit seeking class-action status targets the program's handling.

As The Associated Press reports, the lawsuit alleges that members of the Teachers' Defined Contribution plan "were steered toward an investment that performed only slightly better than some savings accounts, and that some of them had wrongly been lured away from a traditional pension."

The case focuses on an investment option offered to TDC enrollees by VALIC.

"VALIC engaged in a systematic scheme of hiring agents, with whom the teachers, school service personnel and professional staff were familiar,'' AP quotes the plaintiffs' lawyers as saying. "We believe many of the representations made by these VALIC agents were not factually based and were clearly fraudulent in character.''

The Charleston Gazette and MetroNews also report on the lawsuit, with the latter offering audio from one of the suing lawyers.


clear eyes said...

What did VALIC have to gain by steering people into bad investments? Wouldn't they make moe money by managing a larger, growing portfolio? If there's no incentive to do something, people don't ususlly do it. It sounds like this is just lawyers going after deep pockets as usual.

Anonymous said...

VALIC is a fixed annuity. Basically a life insurance policy.
Salesmen get commissions from how many they sell.
Doesn't have anything to do with portfolios.

Teachers are the most risk adverse people I know. Sheep.
They were told that their funds would never be at risk, they'd never lose money. They weren't told they would very little make money.

They were definitely sold a bill of goods, but those that got taken deserved it because they wanted someone else to do their thinking for them.

Those willing to do a little work got a pretty good return. Some of the really aggressive stock funds made over 30% in the last 5 years.

And these are the people teaching our children.

rebecca said...

Anonymous -- nobody deserves to be ripped off.

Yes, these are the people teaching our children. Oddly enough, a lot of them are either leaving the state or taking non-teaching jobs because, as a state, we keep ripping them off over and over again. We have some of the lowest teacher salaries in the nation and now this? Who would want that job?

Pretty soon, nobody will want to teach in WV. There is already a shortage, and it's only going to get worse as baby boomers retire and potential teachers take better-paying jobs outside the field. It is difficult to find teachers certified to teach all the subjects being taught, and schools are scrambling to certify teachers in other subjects to fill the gaps -- often at the teacher's expense. Until we start treating teachers like the hard-working professionals they are, we'll have to find another way to educate the future of our state.

Anonymous said...

That's bullshit.

No teacher got ripped off. They were just too lazy to take the time and do the work to see where to put their money. Then they bitched about it.
There is no teacher shortage in WV. Ask any person graduating this year from an education school.
They're the ones leaving the state to find jobs. Because those teachers that are whining about poor pay and retirement, etc are not leaving. There's no out of state exodus.

It may be difficult to fill secondary math & science slots, but whose fault is that? I'd venture that most ed students are in elementary ed. They've chosen that. They know the pay when they get into it.

The state could let qualified people (engineers, chemists, etc) teach, but the teachers' unions will have none of that.

Lowest salaries? Maybe so.
But also one of the lowest costs of living.
With that factored in, WV teachers are about 20th in the nation.

Spare me the whining. Must be a teacher.

Anonymous said...

Not all of us had a choice. I wish that was covered in the media. Teachers hired from 1991 to 2005 were forced in the TDC and not properly educated on how to manage the funds. I do not like be portrayed as a member of the flock that chose a failing and fraudulent retirement system.

I see that our educational system failed the previous poster. It is sad he/she can only express him/herself by using profanity.

rebecca said...

Anonymous #1 -- Yes, there is a teacher shortage. Enter any school in the state and you'll find positions that aren't filled. Teachers are retiring faster than we can find new teachers to fill their positions and it gets worse every year.

Anonymous #2 is right. There was no choice for those teachers, and the information available was slim to none. The previous retirement system had worked pretty well, and this one was billed as being just as trustworthy. Most teachers simply assumed that this retirement plan would be very similar to the previous one, and didn't think they had reason to scrutinize. They never had, before.

Anonymous #1, what is your issue with teachers? Were you a bad student? Your anger toward teachers really comes through. Making blanket statements you can't back up with facts does nothing to make the situation any better, it just makes you look like a salty old hick. Lighten up a little.

clear eyes said...

I can't speak for either anonymous, but there are plenty of people with 401ks all around the state who had no choice in pension plan and made poor choices in the 401k, but may end up subsidizing teachers for making the same mistakes. Double-whammy!

As for the teacher shortage, that's a creation of the union mentality where all widgets are interchangeable and must be paid the same no matter what the local conditions or the specific skills of the individuals. If the same amount of funding were divided in a way to pay more for science, math, etc. where the unfilled positions exist, and pay more where the cost of living is higher (as any private company would do), there would be no shortages at all. There's actually a huge surplus of teachers for the popular (read overpaid) positions.

I have nothing against teachers. I think many of them are great people. My argument is against the entitlement and union mentalities in what is normally considered to be a profession.

Ray said...

If there are so many teacher positions unfilled, how come all of these kids graduating college can't find jobs here? There are people standing in line to take these positions.

The previous retirement system worked pretty well?
One of the worst in the nation. And it's not much better now.
It was and still is a state sponsored pyramid scheme. Now we're going to have to bail it out some more.
Millions of people in America have 401k plans just like the TDC and have learned to manage their own money. It doesn't take a genius. Just some advice.

I don't think either of the previous Anons made any outrageous blanket statements. Strong language? Maybe. Sounds to me mostly like people tired of hearing how hard teachers have it.

Retirement is a pretty important decision to make. If you didn't think it through and made an uninformed decision, that's really your fault isn't it? The truth hurts.

Teachers try and teach responsibility to their students, but neglect to follow their own lessons.