National News Roundup

October 31, 1984 3 min read

The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund has announced that it will comply in full with federal court orders requiring it to pay equal monthly pension benefits to both men and women who retired after May 1, 1980.

The private pension company made the announcement shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court declined on Oct. 15 to review a federal appeals court’s ruling that tiaa-cref’s practice of paying women lower monthly pension benefits represented illegal sex discrimination. (See Education Week, Oct. 17, 1984)

Educators had monitored the tiaa-cref case closely because more than 3,400 schools, colleges, and education organizations participate in retirement plans offered by the company.

According to James G. MacDonald, chairman of the pension company, the impact of tiaa-cref’s decision to comply with the court orders would be as follows:

For the 105,000 retirees who began receiving pension payments on or before May 1, 1980, there will be no change in their monthly benefits.

For the 35,000 retirees who began receiving pension payments after May 1, 1980, benefits will be adjusted “as soon as possible” to a sex-neutral basis. According to tiaa-cref, the change will have “little or no effect” on most people receiving annuity income under joint, or two-life, payment methods; for those receiving payments under one-life methods, the change will cause increases in women’s benefits and reductions in men’s benefits.

For the 760,000 annuity owners who are still working, the company will calculate their benefits on a sex-neutral basis when they do retire. Again, the company said the change will have little or no effect for those people selecting joint, or two-life, payment methods. However, for those people who select one-life payment methods, the change will mean larger payments for women and smaller payments for men than would have been provided in the absence of the court order.

Making the pension system conform to the courts’ unisex requirements “will not in any way threaten the financial soundness of tiaa-cref,” Mr. MacDonald said in a prepared statement.

The annual snapshots of overall school enrollments taken by the U.S. Bureau of the Census suggest the broad population patterns that shrink or swell class sizes across the country.

The latest portrait, depicting school-through-college enrollments from 1965 to 1982, shows both that elementary-school enrollments continued a decline that began in 1970 and that preschool and kindergarten enrollments were beginning to reflect the baby boomlet of the late 1970’s. That upswing in the annual birth rate is expected to expand elementary-school enrollments again into the 1990’s.

As of 1982, however, elementary enrollment had dropped toel5l27,412,000--off 19 percent from the 1970 peak level of 33,950,000. But kindergarten enrollment--whichvered around 3 million since 1965--continued to show modest growth in 1982 from a 1978 low point of 2,989,000 in 1978. The 1982 kindergarten enrollment of 3,299,000 represented a rise of nearly 150,000 over the 1981 level, according to the Census Bureau.

Preschool enrollments--reflecting both increased interest in that level of schooling and changes in the birth rate--grew from 520,000 in 1965 to 2,153,000 in 1982, the statistics indicate.

High-school enrollments peaked, according to the report, at 15,753,000 in 1976; as of 1982, they had dropped off by 10 percent to 14,123,000. The population patterns indicate, Census Bureau officials say, that high-school enrollments will drop to a low of 13 million over the next several years before starting to climb again by 1990.

A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 1984 edition of Education Week as National News Roundup