NEW YORK – Petros Galatoulas, the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY, Stella Koklis, president of the Association of Hellenic American Educators and Ioannis Efthymiopoulos, PhD, National Director of Greek Education and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, were the speakers at a recent press conference on the subject Greek education in America.
Also present on December 4 at the at the Stathakion Center for the first such meeting in two decades was Vasilios Nikolos, representing the office of Education of the Consulate of Greece.
The presenters at the meeting on December 4 offered their perspectives and recommendations.
Galatoulas spoke about initiatives of the Federation’s new leadership and said the time is ripe to move from words to deeds, beginning with the elevation of Greek Education to the level of major national issue.
He believes that among the main problems is the double wage gap between parochial school teachers and public school teachers on the one hand, and between community teachers and priests on the other.
Referring to recent school closures, he said “we should have closed any schools.” Ways must be found to help schools and promised the Federation will participate in the establishment of an education fund to support community teachers, which Kokolis strongly supports.
Although Kokolis congratulates wealthy Greek-Americans for their donations to American universities and museums, she said they must be persuaded to devote at least 20 percent of their charity to supporting Greek culture and schools.
Efthimiopoulos, who supports charter schools, emphasized the importance of educational materials like books produced by the Archdiocese and noted they are produced by an excellent team of teachers.
He liked Galatoulas’ idea for having seminars twice a month, and for school boards to be elected.
Efthimiopoulos also raised the issue of the competence of school managers, whom he urged to be close to the teachers. “We should not have to learn what is happening in schools from the newspapers.”
Asked by The National Herald asked if there is a budget for his proposals, Galatoulas said a budget is not an issue because the Federation will bear the costs, declaring that the Federation’s contributions will be announced at the right time.