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BPS teachers: Our photo was used in touting of bill we oppose

Boston Public School educators (from left) JoDee Hall, Taharri Turner, Shanti Caiazzo, and Kendra Martin welcomed sixth-graders to Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester for the start of school on Sept. 7.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

On Tuesday morning, we were shocked to open the Globe and see a photo of us that may have given the false impression that we support the op-ed with which it was paired. Nothing could be further from the truth (“Seniority policies are holding back teacher diversity efforts,” Opinion, Sept. 12).

The piece from the Boston chapter of Educators for Excellence touted a bill that purportedly seeks to enhance educator diversity but in reality would thwart that goal. The legislation, though framed as a means to foster educator diversity in Massachusetts, threatens to dismantle the due process system that safeguards the rights and job security of educators. Without these protections, educators of color would be even more vulnerable to the whims and sometimes not-so-subtle bias of administrators. Passage of the bill would undermine our recruitment pipeline while claiming to advance something we all believe in.


Furthermore, the use of our photo to illustrate the op-ed, which suggested that we endorse this wrongheaded bill, is troubling. (Editor’s note: The photo was removed from the online version in response to this letter.) We stand firmly against any legislation that exploits the cause of diversity to erode the rights and protections of educators, particularly educators of color. The forum given to Educators for Excellence also undermines an alternative bill ― the Educator Diversity Act — that offers real solutions to advance diversity in education and has support from a coalition that includes Latinos for Education, ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, and Native American) Educators, Journey Into Education and Teaching, Mass Insight, and the Boston Teachers Union.

As Boston educators we, and our union, have many solutions to increase educator diversity, in addition to the Educator Diversity Act. Although educators in Boston Public Schools represent 7 percent of the Massachusetts teaching force, we currently comprise 30 percent of the state’s educators of color. Through our advocacy and initiatives, we have worked to build and push for a successful pipeline of educators who better reflect the communities of our students. While there is more work to be done, we as educators in the classroom have the real solutions. We respectfully remind the media that we are people, not props.


Shanti Caiazzo

JoDee Hall

Kendra Martin

Taharri Turner


The writers are educators at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester.