Changes of this magnitude can only be accomplished at the national level,
which means that overall responsibility for attaining these objectives lies
with the government of Israel.
Policies Required for Achieving the Objectives
· Providing pupils with
a high-quality core curriculum, identical and mandatory for all education
Despite the great diversity in Israel’s population, there must exist a
common set of core values, as well as a common set of skills and knowledge
required for functioning as citizens in a democratic society and as productive
workers in an open, competitive and modern economy. The social gaps in Israel’s society are
widened by the economic fractures at their core – and these are determined in
no small part by the immense variation in educational levels that determine
each individual’s point of entry into the global job market that we are now a
part of. Already, the average worker
changes jobs several times each decade.
Thus, there is a need for a state-of the-art, uniform, core curriculum that
will provide an identical basic “toolbox” to every pupil throughout the school
The basic “toolbox” must be considerably improved. This includes
a significant upgrading of the educational levels in core subjects such as Civics,
History, Hebrew, English, Mathematics, Science, Geography and Literature.
The core curriculum must be uniform in content and in
quality if the future economic playing field is to be level. While Israeli
society is characterized by numerous lifestyles, each of which demands an
education that reflects its distinct social and religious perspective, there is
only one economic market in which all the country’s citizens must compete and
thrive without becoming a burden to society. Therefore, a country that wants an
egalitarian – and not just a successful – society must ensure that the improved
core education be provided at equal levels in all its education systems, in all
its towns and neighborhoods, in all parts of the country.
· In order to receive a
license, each school in Israeli must adopt and implement the core curriculum. Any and all public money provided to a school
must be conditional upon full acceptance and implementation of the core
· The State of Israel must
provide free education to every child, regardless of their needs or
ability. An Israeli is an Israeli is an
Israeli, without any relationship to his or her ethnic or religious
background. Each must be provided with
the most basic civil right, the right to build their personal futures, and to
partake in the building of our collective future. The education of our children – each and
every one of them – must become a national priority second to none.
Only at the national level is it possible to provide a comprehensive
solution to the educational needs of the country’s population. Only a national
mechanism with the mandatory systemic perspective can reduce regional, ethnic
and religious gaps. This is the role of the state – and not of local
authorities or philanthropic/voluntary organizations.
Therefore, the government of Israel’s education budget must include
sufficient funds for providing education – at a far higher standard than that
currently provided – that is truly free for every pupil from the age of three
up to completion of high-school.
· Supplementary funding
will be provided to individual schools on the basis of the socio-economic composition
of their respective populations and also as an incentive for rewarding school
· Better achievements
require better classroom environments. This
includes installation of air-conditioning and heating in all classrooms and a
stipulation that average class sizes be similar in all the education systems –
with no more than 25 students in any given class.
· A longer school day
will be introduced – with qualified teachers only – including a hot lunch for
every pupil, served in a proper dining room.
Once the entire teaching staff is present in the school every day and
all day, it will be possible to provide additional class time and make the
transition to a longer school day and a longer school year in all parts of the
country. Providing more attention to
each pupil, augmenting the curriculum, developing special skills and motivating
excellence are preconditions to better educational achievements.
These measures constitute the first step in raising the general level of
attainment in the country and reducing educational gaps, since the state will supply
the augmentation that parents who can afford it already provide today. The
presence and the availability teachers in school after formal teaching hours is
very important for students who must currently seek expensive assistance from
Introduction of a five-day school week enables the education system to
make the transition to a longer school day. This has many consequences beyond the
education system. The transition of the entire education system to a five-day
week will be a catalyst for the rest of the country – i.e. those businesses
that have yet to do so – to make the transition to the five-day work week common
in other Western countries. The transition of the entire economy to a five-day
work week will alleviate the problem experienced by many families whose
children remain alone at home on Fridays while the parents are at work.
The transition of schools to a work day, a work week and a work year
that are synchronized with the rest of the economy will enable many parents to
join the workforce – which in turn will provide a positive contribution to their
standard of living.
· A substantial increase
in teachers’ salaries alongside a significant improvement in quality of the
· The professional
training of a teacher in Israel will require at least an undergraduate degree
(BA or BSc rather than the currently acceptable BEd), in addition to a teaching
· The number of work
hours per day and work weeks per year for full-time teachers be similar to the
norm in other sectors of the economy.
This will enable the employment of fewer teachers and raise the salary
of those already employed.
· There needs to be more
flexibility in the employment of teachers and in the determination of their
salaries to enable a system that provides appropriate financial incentives for
achievement. Every attempt should be made
to complete this transition in cooperation with the unions representing the
· Each teacher must have
their own workspace in the school.
A. At the
· The ELA commission,
which preceded the Dovrat commission, recommended the establishment of a
professional and non-partisan National Education Authority. It will have the authority to determine the
credo and the core curriculum of the education system. This Authority will comprise a maximum of
20-25 professionals and a small administrative staff.
· The Ministry of
Education will be charged with setting policy for the education system in
keeping with the credo and core curriculum set by the National Education
· The Education Ministry’s
districts will be abolished.
· The current plethora
of supervisors will be considerably reduced, to be replaced by an independent –
of the Education Ministry – national authority for measurement and assessment. Data from this authority will enable the
Ministry of Education alone, without intervention and duplication of
responsibilities from any other ministry, to supervise each of the schools in each
of the education systems throughout the country.
At the School Level
· Financial resources
will be provided to the schools according to transparent and equal budgetary
classifications, with supplementary funding that takes into consideration the
socio-economic status of the student population and incentive programs.
· All decisions
regarding classroom activity, school maintenance, manpower and financial
management will be transferred to the schools.
· The school principal
will prepare work plans and translate them into budget proposals that will be
submitted to the school’s board (defined below) for approval. The principal will be responsible for
implementing the work plans, achieving the goals, adhering to the budget, and
for hiring and firing teachers (subject to labor agreements).
· The principal must
have professional management training and should preferably – but not necessarily
– be an experienced teacher.
· A school board will be
established in each school with functions parallel to a corporate board of
directors. The board’s main duties will
Supervise the work of the principal.
Approve the school’s work plans and budgets.
Approve hiring and firing of teachers.
School Board will comprise representatives of four groups: the Ministry of
Education, the municipality, parents and teachers – with a majority of
representatives from the ministry and the municipality.
At the Local Level
A new system of checks and balances will be established between the national
government (the main source of budgets), the municipality (the official
representative of the local educational interests), and the end users in the
school (who will now receive far wider freedom in utilizing money). The municipality’s roles will include:
· Running a municipal
The municipal education board will set educational targets –
over and above the national core curriculum – adapted to local community
Members of the municipal education board will represent
local interests on each of the school boards within its jurisdiction, thereby
enabling the municipality to have an input on the choice of principal, the
school’s educational targets, and also the approval of the principal’s work
The municipality education board will determine the local
registration areas and the method for assigning students to the different
· While the school’s
basic budget will be financed entirely by the Education Ministry – for the reasons
specified above – the municipality will augment the school budget in order to
provide for local educational priorities.
· The municipality will
be responsible for construction of new schools according to the needs determined
jointly by the municipality and the Education Ministry. Funding will be from the national budget
according to common national criteria for all schools.
· The municipality will
include the schools within its jurisdiction in holiday festivities and other
· The municipality
should cooperate with the schools’ management to find ways of utilizing school buildings
after hours, so as to generate additional income to supplement the school’s