I am a career teacher who retired in 2009 at age 60½. I taught in Pennsylvania for 16 years, then moved to California and put in another 21 years. That comes out to a total of 37 years in public education.
Early in my career I earned a master's degree that did increase my salary. Since Pennsylvania teachers do pay into Social Security, I was able to collect that income when I turned 62 this year. I did lose about 40 percent of my Social Security earnings because of the Windfall Profit Elimination Act. My current yearly retirement for two state pensions and Social Security is $47,592.
Unfortunately, my biggest bill is health care. Even with a contribution of $296 a month toward my policy, which my former district pays until age 65, it is eating up my retirement income by leaps and bounds. The 2011 cost is $761 a month individual, $1,607 a month with spouse. Huge pension? I don't think so!