Part 154 cuts ESL instruction, pretty much to the bone. How this helps newcomers I have no idea. But for principals looking to save a few bucks, it's pretty convenient. First of all, you can eliminate those irritating classes to teach English. That saves space, and Lord knows space is at a premium in those crowded buildings.
Unfortunately, with the personnel you have, you may need to keep those costly ESL teachers on to keep the core content area teachers company. Part 154 says that somehow, by them being in the room, the kids will magically learn English while they prep for that physics Regents. But wait! If the physics teacher, or the math, social studies or English teacher takes the magic 12 credits, you can cut out the ESL teachers altogether! Just have the math teacher with the magic license teach ESL, and everything is copasetic.
After all, once the math/ social studies/ science/ English teachers have those magic 12 credits, they can teach their subject area and English in the same time they used to teach only their subject area. How do they do it? I don't know, because I have a master's degree in applied linguistics. How stupid of me to do that rather than take the discount magic credits from UFT or NYSUT. But back when I started they didn't have magic teachers.
It's bad, I guess, if you're an ESL teacher and that's actually what you do. Because your principal can say, "Hey, you know, I don't need ESL teachers anymore. I need magic science teachers instead." So while ESL teachers are unemployed or ATRs, the principal has a few more bucks to place that laser tag lab in the basement, or maybe to place that hot yoga studio in his office for when big shots drop by.
The only other drawback is if you are a social studies/ math/ science/ or English teacher. The thing is, if you aren't a magic teacher, you may find your services are no longer needed. After all, why should some principal hire you if it means she has to hire one of those utterly unnecessary ESL teachers? That's not only an extra expense, but also one more person to observe four times a year. And that could seriously cut into the Wednesday afternoons at the Comfort Inn where you get that massage therapy.
Part 154 is pretty much a win/ win. Unless, of course, you're an ESL teacher, or a core content teacher without the magic 12 credits. Or if you're a kid who wants to learn English, because there's clearly no time to indulge in such frivolity. Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Sure, no one even knows what bootstraps are anymore, but if it was good enough for your great grandfather, it ought to be good enough for anyone.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.