BOSTON (AP) _ The Massachusetts Teachers Association said Thursday it was endorsing Vice President Al Gore in next year's Democratic presidential primary.

The decision followed the National Education Association recent vote to back Gore.

``During his seven years as vice president and during his prior congressional experience Al Gore has been right on the issues that are important to our members, such as children's health and safety, maximizing student learning and respecting education employees,'' MTA president Stephen Gorrie said in a statement.

Gore is battling former Sen. Bill Bradley for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush is the front-runner in the Republican race.

The 87,000-member MTA's decision to concur with the NEA's endorsement of Gore was based on the results of a questionnaire sent to candidates.