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New York State Schools Continue to Recognize Greek Language

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Mar 27, 1999

New York, NY - His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America made a joint announcement on March 24th with Dr. Gerald E. DeMauro, Assessment Coordinator of the State Education Department, that the State of New York would continue to recognize the validity and importance of the annual Modern Greek language examination. The announcement was made at the Archdiocesan headquarters.

This decision will have a great impact on the teaching of the Greek language for the rest of the country, since the New York State Modern Greek language examination has been imitated or accepted for credit by counties and municipalities of other states, such as Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

At the meeting with Dr. DeMauro attended by representatives of the mass media, His Eminence said the following:

"Our Holy Archdiocese is very pleased and gratified today with the official announcement of the decision of the New York State to continue to recognize the studies in Greek the students have in its public and nonpublic schools. The language is the mother of culture, the bedrock upon which civilization is built. Language is the ground where heart and mind meet, it is the means by which humanity communicates with itself across the generations."

Last Fall, the New York State Assessment Office announced the elimination of the Modern Greek language comprehensive examination. His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon reacted immediately and issued an encyclical letter to the Greek Orthodox Community, asking for a collective effort to reverse the state’s decision. Under His Eminence’s aegis, a special committee was formed for this purpose. Committee members went to Albany and held discussions with representatives of the State Education Department regarding the Archdiocese’s request.

According to the recent decision of the State Education Department, the Archdiocese Department of Greek Education will continue to develop and administer the Greek language comprehensive examination for regents credit, as it has done for the past 25 years. The validity of the examination will be guaranteed by an independent, six-member review board, appointed by Archbishop Spyridon for a two-year term. Chair of this board is Mr. Constantine Galitsis, Supervisor of Foreign Languages of the Hicksville Public School District. Other members include: Dr. Nicholas Kladopoulos, director, Archdiocese Office of Greek Education; Prof. John A. Rassias, president, The Rassias Foundation, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Dr. Aristotle Michopoulos, Dean of Hellenic College, Brookline, MA; Dr. John Siolas, Chancellor’s Office of Monitoring and School Improvement, NY City Board of Education and Miss Stella Economou, assistant principal, Foreign Languages Department, The Bronx High School of Science.

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