Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1410 Posts and Counting

Wasting Our Greatest Resource.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | July 19, 2010

No. 480.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reprinted a graphic from the New York Times that stated that only 5% of women and 10% of men are working full time at age 70. Also, 8% of women and 10% of men are working part time at this age.

This represents an incredible waste of our greatest resource — brainpower.

The fact is that most of the people who want to continue to work past arbitrary ages are driven out of the workplace by mandatory retirement policies that reflect the facts and values of a by-gone era.  Every time such a forced retirement happens, the United States (or any other country) loses the benefit of a highly trained and experienced worker.

Employing experienced workers even after retirement is not as difficult as it may seem. We do it with judges.  Mandatory retirement for judges is age 70. But even judges past the mandatory retirement age are engaged on a per diem basis to handle cases, until the judge or the Supreme Court decides that it is time to hang up the spurs.  No doubt a senior worker will require accommodation, just as a disabled person may.  But isn’t it worth it to retain him or her in the work force?

In addition, we need to encourage encore employment.  Well-educated and seasoned individuals should be given the opportunity to become teachers.  Rather than go through the extensive course work required of teachers who start their careers in their twenties, these senior recruits could audition for teacher openings.

On the other end of the age range, we need to focus on identifying and educating our most gifted students.  This area has been sadly neglected, especially in schools with a high ratio of problem students.  These students must be given special curricula geared to their needs and abilities.  Plus, they must have teachers who are equal to the task.  That’s where senior teachers come in.  From the ranks of the would-be retired it is possible to recruit an elite corps of teachers who are smarter, better educated and experienced in a world outside the school to match the elite group of students.

No one who is willing and capable of doing good work should be forced out of the labor pool. No child who is willing and capable of becoming an exceptional student should be denied the opportunity to do so, regardless of what kind of school exists in his neighborhood.  In other words, quit killing excellence.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

  • Recent Posts

  • Posts You Might Like

  • Subscribe to our feed