The Israeli school year begins tomorrow (Sep 1). Our kids, at the American School, have been at school for two weeks already. After the school board meeting tonight, I was talking with one of the other Israeli board members about the depressing situation in the Israel school system. First we have the outrageous issue with the Ethiopian student's not being accepted to private religious schools in Petach Tikva. This is racism, pure and simple. The thing I found just as worrying and what got much less press is that this year only 39% of pupils in Israel are enrolled in "secular" public schools, 14% in religious public schools, 28% in Arab schools and a whopping 20% are enrolled in orthodox Haredi schools. This means that we are looking at close to half the children in Israel are getting an education that will probably not equip them to function in the modern world. You can read the article here. Both the Arab and orthodox educational system are way worse than the not very good public system. The Arab schools on the whole test 14% below the Israeli average while the Haredi schools don't even participate in the exams - they have no state wide curriculum. The levels of employment in these populations are way lower than the rest of the country, and what that means is more people for our social services to support in the future. The right thing to do is to improve the level of education in these sectors. I'm not holding my breath.
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