Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Kislev 5764 - November 26, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Study Shows Atmosphere and Discipline at Government Schools Have Plummeted
by Eliezer Rauchberger

University of Bar Ilan researchers presented the Knesset Education Committee with a study that found vast differences in atmosphere and discipline in separate chareidi educational institutions from government schools--both secular and religious.

On the topic of feelings of belonging to the school the chareidi education system received 74 points in the study, compared to 39 points for secular government schools, 38 points for religious government schools and 42 points for non- Jewish schools.

In the area of teacher-student relations the chareidi education system received 100 points compared to just seven points for secular government schools, 24 points for religious government schools and 18 points for non-Jewish schools.

On the question of teacher support, the chareidi education system received 36 points compared to -1 for secular government schools, -13 for religious government schools and 24 points for non-Jewish schools.

Perhaps the most significant figure was the issue of classroom atmosphere and discipline. The chareidi education system received 28 points compared to just -52 points for secular government schools, -28 points for religious government schools and 5 points for non-Jewish schools.

In the area of teacher morale the chareidi education system received 29 points compared to 14 points for secular government schools, 7 points for religious government schools and -48 points for non-Jewish schools.

The authors of the study, Professor Z. Mevarech and Dr. B. Karmarasky, presented additional figures and said according to their data there is a direct correlation between age and attendance. Older students are increasingly absent or tardy or do not participate in class. They say only 55 percent of students maintain a high attendance rate. They also note pressure to achieve is below the international average.

The stunning gap in the area of classroom discipline and atmosphere led all of the committee members to express concern over the future of the education system in Israel. Professor Yaakov Katz, chairman of the Education Ministry's pedagogical secretariat, said there is no balance today between students' rights and teachers' ability to impose discipline. "We've lost the teacher's deterrence capability and he is afraid to take action and report," he said. "There are directives but there is a reluctance to implement them."

Teachers' union representatives attributed teachers' lack of authority to inadequate Education Ministry backing and called for a new teachers' authority law.

Following the presentation of the findings, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni suggested the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister resign from office. Unlike other social problems, here the education of the coming generations is at stake as children grow up without discipline and without values, said Rabbi Gafni, calling on them to accept ministerial responsibility for this grave state of affairs. Rather than devoting efforts to making changes in the chareidi sector, he added, they ought to devote more attention to the government education system, which has reached alarming lows.

MK Meshulam Nahari (Shas) said the education system has failed to create the positive climate needed to bring about excellence and high achievement. He called on the school system to focus more on education and less on grade obsession.

MK Marina Solodkin (Likud) said she is not surprised by the worrisome findings "which reflect our true face as a society, and are not a defect among students alone."

MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) also said the figures reflect Israeli society, which is violent and lacks direction and ideology, compared to chareidi education which does have values and ideology.

Rabbi Avrohom Y. Lazerzon, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmoi, said, "Neither proposed legislation nor government pedagogical committees will in any way solve the diseases of the general education system. There is only one, single way. And as difficult as it may be for you to admit it the time has come for you to acknowledge the need to return to traditional Jewish education, which even according to the surveys yields very positive results compared to the very negative results and the sour fruits of the government educational system. The students are not to blame, rather the flawed approach to education is what causes failures and violence."


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