Letter: Barbara Patterson: People need to hear of teachers’ pension woes – Opinion – providencejournal.com

I am writing in response to Mark Patinkin’s July 9 column, “If Not for Raimondo, R.I. could have shared Illinois’ fate.”

I had been teaching for 31 years when I retired — 16 with the state as a teacher at the Ladd School and the Training School and 18 in a public school (minus three years of maternity leave).

I was 56. I had planned on staying for four more years. Two of my three children were still in college and I did not want to leave, as I loved what I did and was still effective as a teacher. I needed employment and began teaching part-time at a private school in September 2011. I am still working there and plan on continuing to teach for three more years, until I am 65.

I will be OK, but there are many teachers who do not have a choice and must stay in their current jobs much longer than they wanted because of the pension changes. They will retire with much less money than I did.

During my 18 years in public schools, I did not pay into Social Security. This was not my choice, and it is true of teachers in many school systems, so the changes in the pension system have seriously impacted their retirement years. The average person doesn’t empathize with the impact the pension changes have had on people’s lives, now and in the future. It just isn’t right.

Barbara Patterson

Greene

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