ERA 5 - October 31, 1998
Greek Examinations Abolished in New York
By Justine Frangouli
The recent decision taken by the New York State Education
Department to eliminate, without prior notice, the "annual sample examinations
for Regents credit for students who have studied Modern Greek", in effect
jeopardizes the continuation of Greek education in all schools under the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It means that students will not earn credits
for taking Modern Greek, and thus will be discouraged from pursuing further
studies in Greek. Of course, the sentimental attachment of parents and children
to their ancestral language will continue to play an important role, but nonetheless
it is being seriously shaken by this unexpected development.
Thus, while the Greek Education Department of the Archdiocese has been responsible
for organizing and conducting the annual state examinations in Greek and has
covered the organizational and financial aspects of the procedure for 25 years,
suddenly, the State which so far simply confirmed the results of the examinations,
has for its own reasons resolved to abolish such long practice.
In an effort to reverse the decision taken by the New York State educational
authorities, Archbishop Spyridon of America sent a letter of protest to the
Governor of New York State, George Patakis, as well as to other state officials.
He asked that responsibility for organizing and conducting Greek language
examinations be left in the hands of the Archdiocese. Thus, students will
gain recognition for their studies in Greek and in June 1999 credits could
be given to all in the same uniform way as in previous years.
The Archdiocese Greek Education Department in an effort to seek equal treatment
with other modern languages (French, Spanish, etc.) intends to discuss with
State educational authorities the possibility of continuing to conduct examinations
in Modern Greek until 2001, when all examinations in modern languages will
In addition, Archbishop Spyridon has called on Greek Americans to prepare
resolutions and collect signatures to pressure the Governor of New York and
the State Department of Education into reversing its decision before, as he
commented, it is too late. "It is imperative that all Greeks and philhellenes
in America strive, at this critical moment, to preserve the foundation stone
of our cultural patrimony," said the Archbishop.
[ Translated from Greek ]
[ ERA 5 - www.ert.gr/site/news/newsOmogenia.asp - October 31, 1998 ]