Why Greek and Latin?

Points extracted from The Efficacy of Latin of Latin Studies in the Age of Information (A. D. Kane)

  • Verbal SAT scores for Latin students average more than 25% higher than all other high school students.
  • Verbal SAT scores for Latin students average highest among other high school foreign language students.
  • Latin Achievement Test participants scored 20% higher in the SAT mathematics section than all other students.
  • Ethnically neutral language and culture provides a bridge to improving English for students of all ethnicities.
  • Studying Greek and Latin familiarizes students with approximately 80% of the vocabulary of the Romance languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian
  • The non-English (i.e. inflected) sentence patterns of Greek and Latin stimulate students to be observant, accurate, analytical and logical.
  • Studying Greek and Latin culture connects American students to cultures of many nations and continents; a majority of the concepts fundamental to American government, religion, art, literature, medicine, law, and economics have their roots in Greek and Roman culture.
  • Contact with the vastness of ancient Greek and Roman culture promotes awareness and tolerance of cultural, religious, ethnic, and ideological diversity.
  • In 1962 education began to stress science over humanities and as a result by 1976 Latin enrollment dropped 79%; with that decline came a drop of 33 points in verbal SAT scores and a sharp increase in college remedial English courses.
  • In a 1977 experimental program in Washington DC, low-level reading students who were taught Latin for 8 months “climbed from the lowest level of reading ability to the highest level for their grade, equaling the achievements of pupils who had studied French or Spanish for 38 months.”  Similar results were found in studies in Philadelphia and New York in the 1980s.
  • In the 1980s, research showed that students who studied Latin not only improved their language skills, but also their skills in logical, quantitative thinking as exemplified by their mathematic achievement scores: “[t]he study of Latin contributed to better performance on tests in vocabulary and verbal ability, and in higher grades overall.”
  • The moral of the story: Don't "teach to the test". Just teach Greek and Latin!