The research aimed to understand the way in which high school principals’ perceptions of social justice (SJ) are implemented in their daily educational work. A qualitative study employed in-depth semi-structured interviews to collect the narratives of two high school principals in Israel – one Arab-Muslim and one Jewish. The interview transcripts underwent comparative holistic analysis to identify their perceptions and daily practice of SJ in their schools. Findings indicated that the principals’ perceptions of SJ were coloured by their national and cultural context, yet they needed strong conviction to integrate these perceptions in their schools, and their efforts to do so were often beset by resistance.
The concentration of this study was the documentation and analysis of ways in which competing conceptions of citizenship play out in actual classroom settings. Examining three cases in the context of the Israeli education system, its findings show that civics teachers’ views and beliefs influenced ways in which they interpreted the curriculum standards and reacted to schools policies and atmosphere, even in cases where these views contradicted. Nevertheless, when confronted with competing conceptions of citizenship as presented by their students, the teachers were less willing to open true democratic conversations, resulting in lessons that did not necessarily create a true democratic atmosphere.
Oplatka, Izhar. “Israel: Research on School Principals in Israel, Varied Topics and Limited Scope.” In A Decade of Research on School Principals. Cases from 24 Countries (ed. Helene Arlestig, Christopher Day, and Olof Johansson; Cham: Springer, 2016): 403-20.
This paper reviews the research on principalship in the Israeli educational system conducted by Israeli researchers since 2000 till 2013 (53 works) and sheds light on varied aspects of this managerial career. The major conclusion arising from this review refers to the varied, inchoate, diverse, and fragmented nature of the research on principalship in Israel, stemming, at least in part, from the very small number of researchers in the field of educational administration in this country. Thus, the research into principalship in Israel involves activities in a loosely connected array of sites of inquiry rather than a single or even coherent field of study along the lines of problem foci and clear scholarly directions that continue to exist for a long time. In fact, the research covers a multitude of ideas and area (e.g., the principal’s career and leadership style, the impact of reforms upon principal’s role, the skills of principals, the gender and management) representing considerable different views among various groups of researchers within the profession. In other words, this research lacks a unified, cumulative knowledge base, leaving us with only partial understanding of principalship in Israel. The practical contribution of this research is, therefore, limited. Methodologically, the ratio of quantitative and qualitative methodologies used by the Israeli researchers is almost equal, with very few works using triangulated research design. Finally, new Arab researchers in Israel have begun to explore the particular lives and career of Arab male and female principals in the Arab educational system in Israel and exposed interesting viewpoints about educational leadership in traditional societies.
This article offers an ethnographic account of the professional activities of mental health practitioners, employed by the state’s religious education system. I analyze various models implemented by practitioners for the purposes of preparing pupils for the state-mandated evacuation of Jewish settlers from Gaza and the West Bank. By focusing on the interaction between psychological and religious-national cultural frameworks I show how practitioners imbue familiar professional concepts with new meanings and create hybrid models of intervention.
Comparing the PISA 2012 achievements of Turkey and Israel in Mathematics and science has been an intriguing challenge. Israel was one of the first 12 countries taking part in the first International Mathematics assessment: The TIMSS 1963/4; it had the best achievements both in grade 4 and 8 (ibid). Turkey started participating in International evaluations only in 1999. Since the 1963/4 first international examinations, the Israeli situation has changed substantially by the 80ies, and not in any desirable direction. Turkey, on the other hand, has demonstrated a gradual, constant improvement in the PISA achievements – both in mathematics and science. In this study a brief comparison between these two countries will be presented regarding the achievement in the first decade of the 21st century. This article consists of three main parts: Why comparing Israel and Turkey?, Achievements comparisons between Israel and Turkey, and Why are the Israeli PISA 2012 results actually lower than reported.
This study applies discourse analysis to Israeli media coverage of national and international standardized examinations within Israel’s public education system. Through systematic analysis of the topic in the two main Israeli financial publications between the years 2000 and 2013, we explore the nature and narrative of the media and compare the coverage of national and international standardized testing. We find that most of the media attention was devoted to international examinations, while national examinations were covered in a more limited yet critical way, perceived as unnecessary and even dubious. International examinations, in contrast, were described as axiomatic components of the education system. Articles on both national and international standardized testing criticize the education system, blaming teachers, the Ministry of Education, budget constraints, and marginalized populations for Israeli students’ inadequate results. We frame our analysis by alignment of the articles along global–local and also neoliberal–humanistic axes. We structure our assessment within the global–local nexus and discuss the broader implications of the role of the testing in framing the local educational public discourse.
Shani, Michal and Drorit Ram. “Perceptions of School Administration Team Members Concerning Inclusion in Israel: Are They in Congruence with the Ecological Sustainable Perspective?” British Journal of Special Education (early view; online first).
Based on an ecological perspective, inclusive education should involve two essential components: a shared ideology of providing a culturally responsive educational system where the needs of every child are met and a school policy geared towards the implementation of inclusion practices, with collaborations among staff members who create sustainable relationships. The study’s aim was to gain a better understanding of School Administration Team Members’ (SATMs’) perceptions of inclusive education in general elementary schools. It was found that although SATMs expressed pro-inclusion ideological statements, they have not yet manifested an ecological view of inclusion de facto that is holistic in nature. By and large, respondents expressed reactive rather than proactive perceptions. It appears that collaborations have not yet been initiated where inclusion is discussed, and a shared ideology is constructed. The research suggests that the perceptions of SATMs reflect perspectives of problem solving, survival, and partial collaborative networks that do not fully embrace ecological sustainable perspectives.
This study comprises a comprehensive attempt to reveal the power relations and conflicting interests within the local–global nexus of the Israeli public education system. The perceptions of different stakeholders were explored, in regard to the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program as an example of a globally oriented curriculum. Vignette scenarios and mixed methods were utilized in order to survey various stakeholders including parents, school principals, Education Ministry officials, academics, and educational entrepreneurs. Findings indicate that the Israeli education system is somewhat trapped between different and opposing pressures that force transformations in conflicting directions. The Israeli case may serve as a reference point for future research, advancing the study of power relations and tensions between different values and diverse stakeholders in modern education systems, especially within societies engaged in active conflict.
Rotman, Assaf, Yossi Shavit, and Michael Shalev. “Nominal and Positional Perspectives on Educational Stratification in Israel.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility (early view; online first).
This paper examines whether the rising accessibility of educational qualifications attenuates the association between social origin and educational attainment. Research is divided on the question of persistence of inequality of educational opportunities (IEO). Currently most studies on this issue focus on attainment of nominal levels of education and fail to acknowledge that educational expansion is accompanied by change in the value of qualifications and in their scarcity. This study employs measures of educational attainment that capture the changing scarcity and economic value of qualifications. Data from the 1995 and 2008 censuses in Israel are used to compare the association of socioeconomic origin with educational attainment between two birth cohorts. The results show that IEO tends to persist or decline, when attainment is measured in absolute terms, but tends to increase when relative measures of qualifications or measures representing their economic value are employed. The familiarity of better off parents with the school system and their awareness of changes in the value of qualifications are offered as a central factor that explains the findings.
The objective of this research study was to identify the factors affecting the professional characteristics of teacher educators by comparing two models of teacher education. The research findings revealed four major focal points that have an impact on professional characteristics: the operational model adopted by the institution where teacher educators work; the breadth and depth of teacher educators’ research and scholarship and the degree to which such scholarship is required as part of the assessment criteria; the cooperation between the training institution and the practical field (i.e., the schools where the students do their practice teaching); and the informal relationships between teacher educators and their students. The novelty of the study resides in the fact that these points affect teacher educators’ professional characteristics and that focusing on these characteristics facilitates a comprehensive view of methods, tools and directions that may expedite the professional development of teacher educators.
This qualitative study focuses on immigrant parents’ perceptions of their children’s academic adaptation, their attitudes toward the host country’s educational system, and their motivation for school involvement. The participants are parents of adolescent children aged 11 to 17 years, who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU). Open in-depth interviews were used to obtain data regarding the participants’ views and insights. The interviews showed that the immigrant parents perceive education as an essential factor in their children’s successful adaptation to the host country. They report significant disparities between educational methods in the FSU and in Israel. They perceive Israeli schools and teachers as being more “friendly” and sensitive to children and granting them equal opportunities for success, yet they are highly frustrated by the teaching level and by discipline issues. Concerned about their children’s academic adaptation, parents try to influence their learning process from the home. Yet, they have difficulty becoming involved in the school and communicating with the teachers. The primary factor that promotes their school involvement is the teacher’s personal characteristics, such as availability, patience, and flexibility. The findings have significant implications for educators who wish to advance immigrant students’ adjustment by means of meaningful cooperation with their parents.
Blass, Nachum. “Trends in the Development of the Education System,” Policy Paper Series, Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. Policy Paper No. 2014.13
In recent years, several important changes have taken place in the education system: the trend in the demographic composition of pupils has changed significantly; the resources at the disposal of the education system have grown considerably; and with regards to the work force, all of the primary and a large portion of post-primary education teachers are now part of the most recent educational reforms (“New Horizon” and “Courage to Change”).
The professional education qualifications of teachers have improved, and the great majority of them now have higher education. The learning achievements of Israel’s pupils have also improved, as is evident from the results of the Meitzav tests, matriculation exams and international testing. Furthermore, the achievement gaps between pupil populations have narrowed, including those between Jewish and Arab Israeli pupils. Improvement is also evident in the educational environment of schools. Despite these changes, the financial allocation per pupil in Israel is still low relative to the OECD countries, and despite the narrowing of gaps between various population groups, they remain among the largest of the OECD countries. There is still a long way to go until the quality of what the education system provides to its pupils and until pupil achievement, in both learning and educational terms, meet the standards of the countries that Israel seeks to emulate.