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letters | FOCUS ON TEACHER SENIORITY

Faults of Boston school system can be laid at many feet

In his June 9 op-ed column “Talent, not time, marks a teacher,” Lawrence Harmon unblinkingly and, apparently, unthinkingly defines “seniority” among Boston public school teachers as “older, less-effective” teachers whose “best skill is hanging on.” How many Globe readers really believe that teachers, or those in any number of other professions, become worse at what they do as they get older? The real problem with senior teachers is two-fold: They are generally paid more, and, by virtue of seniority (and a wealth of experience) they often critique the harebrained schemes not of junior colleagues but of novice administrators.

What is really holding Boston public school children back is the bloated Court Street bureaucracy, a rubber-stamp school committee, incompetent principals repeatedly running schools into the ground with no repercussions, atavistic managerial ideology, novice principals who often have no idea what they are doing but do it with unflagging confidence, and, of course, an abiding Boston poverty, the low-end of an American class system that is the most important predictor of academic success.

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