Subjective Appraisal of the Statistical Data
The statistics in the three questionnaires most often corroborate what the Commission heard at its public hearings; however, divergences do exist.
The Commission finds the following to be most pertinent (percentages have been rounded down):
85% of the teachers who responded are in elementary or middle school, whereas only 2% of the respondents are in high school. Of the students who responded, 84% are in elementary or middle school, only 7% in high school.
- 74% of the teachers who responded were born in Greece. Of the parents who responded, 43% were born in Greece and 55% of their spouses were also born in Greece.
- 67% of the teachers who responded are over 40 years old.
- Teachers rated the quality of the materials as follows: poor to fair, 44%; good, 46%; excellent, 8%. Pupils rated the materials more favorably: 22% poor to fair, 52% good, and 26% excellent.
- A majority in all three groups rated classroom hours as adequate: teachers 52%, students 65%, parents 66%. The Commission disagrees.
- Involvement of students was rated as good or excellent by 69% of the teachers.
- Parental support was rated as good or excellent by 41% of the teachers.
- 58% of teachers had to design their own curriculum.
- 76% of teachers spend from 1 to 2 hours preparing for class.
- Both parents and students testified that the average number of hours devoted to Greek per week is 4.
- 78% of the teachers who responded are either not at all satisfied or fairly satisfied with their working conditions. Only 20% are very satisfied.
- 15% of the teachers volunteer services and receive no compensation. Of the 85% who receive compensation, only 9% are very satisfied.
- Only 3% of the teachers are very satisfied with the benefits they receive.
- Only 9% of the teachers indicated that they have frequent in-house training. 71% noted that they rarely had in-house training.
- The quality of in-house training was rated poor by 29% of the respondents, adequate by 62%, and excellent by only 9%.
- 64% of the teachers indicated a need for additional in-house training.
- To the question, "Which skills should be emphasized in language instruction?" teachers answered as follows: speaking, 53%; comprehension, 43%; reading, 18%; writing 7%. Students answered: speaking, 65%; reading, 26%; comprehension 24%; writing, 15%. Parents answered: speaking, 67%; comprehension, 36%; reading, 23%; writing, 14%. Clearly, speaking is considered the most important skill. This corroborates what the Commission heard in its oral testimony.
- To the question "What do you like best in class?" 42% of the students favored oral work while only 6% favored grammar.
- Regarding what is most important in the curriculum, the percentage of teachers favoring language was 90, the percentage of students 59, the percentage of parents 83. Of the categories language, religion, history, and literature, all groups deemed literature by far the least important. This is in distinct variance with the Commission's view that appropriate literature, well taught, enlivens students and informs them.
- 72% of the teachers rated their support network superior — an approbation that the Commission did not find in its hearings.
The Commission was pleased to find that the questionnaires corroborate, for most the part, the oral testimony heard throughout the nation as well as the Commission's own conclusions.
In addition, we were particularly pleased to have received much extensive, thoughtful, eloquent, and well-written commentary in both Greek and English appended to the questionnaires and offering recommendations, many of which have been included in this Report.