Toward a Desperately Needed Modernization of the Way our Schools Teach Greek

FILE - The diplomas were handed out to the graduates of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing at the 35th Commencement Exercises. (Photo by TNH/ Costas Bej)

The recent passing of Steve Christopoulos, the Manager of Plato Academy Schools in Florida and a driving force behind this charter school network promoting Hellenism represents a major loss for the Greek-American community, but also an opportunity for badly needed introspection.

Together with his family, he leaves behind a network of nine Plato Academy schools, which represent one of the most positive developments in a decade where Greek education in the U.S. has faced many setbacks and challenges. During that time, …

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  1. Very well stated. The type of inclusive educational you speak of is indeed valuable. There are Montessori schools which are French and Spanish intensive so why not a push for Greek. It is possible to happen in NYC and other metropolitan centers but not so much in outlying areas. However, in the past the bulk of money for Greek language education came from the government of Greece. Is that still the case? The large elephant in the room is who/what has not been involved in Greek language education. Why has it fallen to the church/archdiocese to do this? Part of the answer is that the archdiocese wanted to do this. The other part is that no one else wanted to. Many groups protest loudly about issues affecting the Greek American community but more often than not are more concerned about what’s going on in Greece. Perhaps I’ve missed this, but when was the last time any Greek-American society, not connected in any way to the archdiocese, was involved in developing Greek language programs in the US? If it has happened it’s not widespread and not well publicized. If I am incorrect I stand corrected. I am not an apologist for the archdiocese regarding this matter but there is more than one side to this issue. Many of my American friends are amazed that I am fluent in Greek (and they, for the most part not in any language but English) because bi-lingualism is not as prevalent, or valued, here as it is in Europe and other parts of the world.

  2. See Rosen in Kornich 1965 Underachievement, p 253. 1950s Greeks and Jews were successful because their parents insisted they learn the mother tongue as a distinct and separate language. Those that spoke creoles (like Greeklish) never went far, but growing up ambilingual made children more likely to also succeed in mathematics, music and other fields. Grosjean offers lessons on creoles and bilingualism that seem to have only been understood by Iacovus. “Οι μεγαλύτεροι άμυντορες της ελληνικής γλώσσης ήτοι αυτοί οι οποίοι ήχων παιδιά που δεν καταλάβαιναν ελληνικά” A parent who makes the effort to learn English is usually the one rewarded with his kids learning the ancestral language; while the one who refuses is rewarded with kids who not only do not learn the ancestral language, but are rather bad at the new one as well.

  3. Joel Osteen knows better Greek
    than vruclidas with their demonic demoted demotic.
    We want to read apostles and philosphers
    not mistranslated news and minaret music.

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