2009-12-25 / Letters

Don’t Shed A Tear For The Examiners

Dear Editor,

 

Let’s not get too broken up over the demise of the old Board of Education’s Board of Examiners (Re: Beachcomber, 12/4/09) as it was dock post dumb and not as useful. So, there I was having my transcripts evaluated by an Examiner for inclusion as a Communication Arts teacher with a Suma Cum Laude Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology, a Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School plus sixty-three credits, All But Dissertation, in the Doctoral program in Media Ecology from New York University plus having taught mass media courses at Kingsborough Community College, Elizabeth Seton College and Jersey City State College, as it was then called, among others. Well, the Examiner said I was unqualified to teach Communication Arts in the City schools!

Communication Arts initially devised as an alternative writing program had to be staffed with licensed English teachers. However, when I was attempting to place my mass media expertise in the service of the City’s children, in the 1989-1990 period, Communication Arts had moved beyond a writing program and into television, audio, photography and even film, subjects of which I certainly had the expertise both in content and in teaching.

Being so frustrated over the idiocy of the pronouncement of my unqualification, I phoned the Central office and talked with someone in the Communication Arts office. Being just as officious as the Examiners, this disem bodied voice repeated that, indeed, without exception only licensed English teachers were allowed to teach Communication Arts.

Finally, I asked if an English teacher were tasked to teach television or film or other mass media classes and didn’t have the content knowledge what would be done. The response was that the Eng lish teacher would be sent to a Com munication Arts college program to get the content knowl edge. Well, I said, I already have the content knowledge more than you need, and besides, except for the dismal economic conditions of higher education and the lack of the completed Doctorate blocking fulltime appointment, I would be the person teaching your teachers not only the content they need but how to teach it to your students! But that didn’t matter.

The Examiners evaluated my transcripts on two separate occasions. The first time I was told I needed twelve more college credits in English to qualify for the English license; the second time I was told I needed twenty four! Okay, I said, since I wasn’t going to side-track my doctoral studies for taking courses to qualify for the English license, I wondered of the second Examiner the subject area I was already qualified to teach. His response was that I was qualified to teach Social Studies! And so I was eventually licensed in Social Studies. And in September, 1992, I was appoint ed to teach Social Studies in Eras mus Hall High School, which, frankly, was very short lived. I re signed to become a scuba diving instructor.

So, please shed not a tear for the absence of the Board of Examiners.

LEO J. FAHEY

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