New research from the Urban Institute shows shaky state of teacher retirement plans nationwide.

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The Urban Institute has a new, alarming report that reveals big problems with teacher retirement plans.  Almost every state is in trouble, including Washington.

The report shows that 43 percent of new teachers here will not break even on their pensions. But that’s much better than in other states and U.S. territories. Puerto Rico, an extreme example, is forecast to run out of money next year. The New York Times reports that no current teachers there will get any of their pension money back.

In general, teachers contribute to these retirement plans at a steady rate, with the idea that those who stay in the profession long enough will hit a point where the value of their invested earnings grows larger than what they paid into the fund.

But the Urban Institute’s research shows that few teachers are able to do this.

Grading teacher-pension systems state-by-state for financial strength, among other benchmarks, the institute’s report rates Washington a “C,” alongside 32 other states. Massachusetts – long held out as a model for student outcomes – got an “F” on its teacher retirement plan. No state earned an “A.”

Overall, the Institute’s “Negative Returns” report finds that more than three-quarters of all American teachers hired at age 25 will end up paying more into pension plans than they ever get back.