Time to act with ONE VOICE! Orange-West Orange Chapter of UNICO condemns West Orange Board of Education (NJ) for eliminating Italian Language in Middle School
Dr. Jeffrey Rudsky
Dear Dr. Rudsky:
As President of the Orange-West Orange Chapter of UNICO National, the largest Italian-American Service Organization in the United States, I am compelled to condemn your position and that of the West Orange Board of Education to eliminate the Italian Language from its Middle School curriculum. The position is not only an insult to the 1500 Italian American families who make their homes in West Orange but it also lacks common sense and is detrimental to the future of the young students in the care of the West Orange School System.
Our organization has been serving the Township of West Orange for over 50 years. During that time, our members have worked hand in hand with the West Orange school system and have granted over $500,000.00 in scholarships, numerous sports awards, Italian Language awards, community projects geared toward children and numerous other services.
Your myopia and that of the school board regarding this undertaking is obvious. By eliminating the Italian language, you are also eliminating Italian culture and ignoring the numerous contributions of Italians and Italian Americans in various areas such as the arts, sciences, law, government, anthropology, architecture, aeronautics, space exploration, cinema, fashion design, and education, to name a few. Let us remind you that Italian is the language of commerce in today’s world as Italy, maintaining the fifth largest global economy, plays a pivotal role in world trade. Any student presently enrolled in the West Orange School system looking to engage in any field mentioned above would be at a disadvantage if he/she is deprived of the ability to learn the language and culture.
It is obvious and nonsensical that eliminating Italian in the Middle Schools will result in the ultimate elimination of the language in the High School. The Middle School students are the ones likely inclined to continue studying the language as they progress through high school.
Perhaps you and the school board believe that it is worth ignoring and forgetting the language of Dante, Petrarch, Galileo, Michelangelo, Boccaccio, Cellini, Machiavelli, Doria, Mazzei, Fermi and thousands of others who have enriched and saved Western Civilization and contributed to American Culture, the Orange West Orange Chapter of UNICO National does not so believe. It is the sworn responsibility of all our members to stand firm against such unjust endeavors and to protect our culture, language and heritage.
Rest assured that we will do all we can to resist your policy as it goes against our principles, ignores History and constitutes another step towards the “dumbing down” of our schools. The Middle School students deserve to have choices to enrich and enhance their learning experiences in a global system. You, the school board and the Township of West Orange are put on notice of our opposition to your uninformed stance. It is our sincere hope that you and the school board will reverse your intended ukaze and grant the students of the West Orange school system some hope that ignorance, if not bias, will not prevail.