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We can boost diversity without pitting teachers against one another

A school bus rolled down Bow Street in Woburn.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Massachusetts hasn’t seen widespread teacher layoffs in decades. Yet in its March 17 editorial the Globe supports a solution looking for a problem that would undermine teacher job security by advocating the weighing of factors other than seniority (“Where’s the urgency to fix Massachusetts’ longstanding teacher diversity problem?”). Instead, we should be expanding successful programs that are designed to attract and retain diverse educators who bring necessary skills to the classroom.

In the city of Salem, for example, bilingual teachers move a step up in the salary scale and get a stipend each year, and educators who are graduates of the Salem Public Schools start at a higher step.


The state’s Aspiring Teachers Tuition Waiver serves students in their third and fourth year at a public university who commit to teach for two years after graduation.

Creative programs such as these address the real and serious problem of recruiting and retaining enough teachers for our classrooms and don’t needlessly pit one group of educators against another.

Beth Kontos


American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts