Are California public retirement plans better than those for federal or private-sector workers? Yes in some ways, no in others.
Generally they allow earlier retirement than their counterparts. Typically, public-safety employees such as police officers and firefighters have the best deals, schoolteachers the worst.
Good job, CTA. Clearly the union dues teachers pay each year (over $1000 in my school district) are justified by the exceptional job the CTA does in looking out for my pay, benefits, and working conditions.