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LAWRENCE HARMON

Teacher seniority still impedes school improvement

In Boston, it doesn’t matter if you’re a gifted new teacher with exquisite subject expertise and the ability to enliven material for even the hardest-to-reach students. You might even be the top teacher in the state. If someone with more seniority comes along with designs on your job, you’re still toast.

Last year, a dynamic, five-year teacher at Monument High School in South Boston — Adam Gray — was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. A short time later he was bumped by a more senior teacher when the struggling school was merged with another district high school. Gray rebounded this year with a job at one of the city’s elite exam schools, Boston Latin School. He is certainly an asset at his new school. But at an underperforming school, Gray is a life-changer. It’s a disgrace that a teacher of his caliber could be stripped of his calling to educate underachieving students solely because of seniority.

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