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Social Security Fails Public School Teachers

November 30, 2002

A better headline for "Shifting Gears to Become a Teacher" (Nov. 22) would be "Shifting Gears to Lose Your Social Security Benefits." People thinking about making a midcareer change to teaching should be aware that current Social Security laws will take away much of their earned Social Security benefits when they retire from their second career of teaching. Retired California teachers also lose their Social Security survivor benefits. Private-sector workers collect both their private pensions and Social Security in full. Only teachers and other public employees are discriminated against by the government pension offset.

The demand for new teachers cannot be met unless public schools can recruit teachers from among those now working in private-sector jobs. Talented people who want to become teachers are unfairly penalized at retirement. The solution is for Congress to repeal the Social Security offsets by passing HR 2638 and SB 1523, sponsored by Reps. Howard McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) and Howard Berman (D-Mission Hills) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). President Bush should be a real "education president" by signing these bills.

Carol L. Robb

Grand Terrace

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