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Board must reinstate Italian Regents exam

An open letter to state Board of Regents Chancellor at Large Meryl Tisch:

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to express my opposition to the recent decision of the Board of Regents to discontinue the Italian Regents after June 2011. As an Italian-American elected official who represents a large Italian community, I can attest to the profound disappointment of many of my constituents to this decision.

According to the Italian Language Foundation, the enrollment of this examination has risen from June 2005 to June 2009. Its research indicates that the Italian exam has had the highest growth of any of the current Regents language examinations since 2005 at 18.8 percent.

In addition, thousands of high school students across the state currently study Italian, so the elimination of the Italian Regents exam would likely result in the termination of many Italian-language classes in the state. In a global economy, it is imperative that our students have the ability to speak multiple languages as they enter the workforce. I believe the elimination of the Italian Regents exam diminishes their ability to compete in our world economy.

As a member of the state Senate Education Committee, I request that the board re-evaluates the far-reaching implications of this decision on our student population.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this matter further. I thank you for your consideration.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

D-Howard Beach

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