Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Shevat 5765 - January 19, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







The Dovrat Report about the State of Israel's Education System

By T. Katz

A commission was appointed to study and make recommendations for Israeli education: Why its report has aroused tremendous passions, both pro and con.

The company is not profitable and has even been suffering losses? The enterprise has not proven itself? The business is failing and the future looks bleak? Management knows just what to do: sentiment gets tossed out the window and the accounting books get cracked open for thorough review. Cuts are made mercilessly. Workers are fired after 40 years of company loyalty. The manager who gave up his evenings, vacations and holidays for the sake of the factory is called in for a talk and told to clear out his desk. Production is transferred to Jordan and efforts are made to forget how, once upon a time before the demise of principle, it was important to make it possible for Jews to earn a living.

At the end of the day, the efficient decision-maker lets out a sigh of relief and makes a checkmark beside the stated goal. The factory will be profitable—perhaps over the dead bodies of 20 or 30 people, but there is no alternative. In business there is no room for feelings and friendship.

This approach, which is definitely effective in rehabilitating failing businesses, is spreading like wildfire in fields far from the world of business. Netanyahu and his ministry officials declared war long ago on the weak and the unprofitable. In this spirit of Thatcherism, the Dovrat Committee, as well, have decided to manage education like a business enterprise.

Student Plus Grade Equals Output

The catalyst for the new initiatives were several humiliating blows to the Israeli educational system. The Israeli student brought home shameful marks on international tests, humiliating the country in front of dozens of foreign nations. But we will not forgive and forget. He will yet bring us pride. He will prove that Jewish brains are a fact; he will demonstrate that the Nobel Prize to Chiechanover (Aaron Chiechanover who won the prize in Chemistry last year) was not a fluke; he will not fail mathematics again!

The Dovrat Committee, headed by businessman Shlomo Dovrat, wants demonstrable results. It expects to rake in "profits" from the student. If the student yields dividends by succeeding on math exams he will have earned his keep. If the teacher does not cost the system too much he will be permitted to remain. The Dovrat Committee offers no solution for the crisis in values. It contains no novel ideas on how to reduce the growing violence in schools.

What does it contain?

"When the school atmosphere changes," explains Dovrat, "when the recommended organizational changes are made, the level of violence will be lowered automatically."

The economic spirit behind the committee's decisions would lead one to believe that when the student comes to realize the teacher is not worth a measly NIS 4,000 per month but NIS 6,000 or more, he will conclude that it is not right to stand on the third floor and drop a bag filled with water on his head or to hurl orange peels at him. Respect for money is the only value that remains among violent Israeli students.

It would be unforgivable if we failed to mention the never- ending drive to brand the values of nation-building into the student's ethos. According to the National Task Force, the student, "must be a person who loves humanity, a person who loves his people and his land, a citizen loyal to the State of Israel, honoring his parents and family, knowing his language, his heritage and his cultural identity and respecting them."

According to the committee, "In order to reach these goals the public education systems must inculcate its students with the values of the State of Israel [take a deep breath] as a Jewish, democratic state, and develop in them a sense of respect for human rights, fundamental liberties, democratic values, abiding by the law, the culture and worldview of others, striving to educate toward peace and tolerance among people and nations."

We pored over the report, searching for the plan that is supposed to transform the Israeli student from a vandal to a lover of humanity, from an inarticulate student "burned out" as a teenager to one who "knows his language" and "his cultural identify." We searched and searched, but were unable to find even a brief paragraph dedicated to "striving to educate toward peace and tolerance among people and nations." As we will see below, the Dovrat Report is splendidly written, exhibiting strength in its stream of mumbo-jumbo but not backed by the slightest indication of how to implement it.


The final draft of the Dovrat Report was submitted to the government early last week. The central conclusions are astounding in the aestheticism of the goals and the impressive linguistic acrobatics, with their astonishing gap between the goals and any implementation.

Dr. Mark, an expert on educational economics at the University of Tel Aviv, told Yated Ne'eman, "The Dovrat Report is an amazing contradiction between defining goals and realizing them in practice."

If Everything is So Good, How Could it be So Bad?

The goals of the Dovrat Report are universally accepted by a consensus representing every age and population sector. You will not find a single Israeli who argues, opposes or objects to implementing them with all his heart. Everyone agrees that the educational system has turned into a chronically-ill patient. The debate in the latter pages of the report is over the proposed solutions.

What is the Dovrat vision?

First and foremost "full responsibility for tapping the potential of every student." Finally they get it! I always said my child was a potential Einstein. Now these people, too, realize the problem is the teachers who failed to tap my little Chaim's potential. And what will become of the neighbor's son, who can't understand a single word? He's a human being, too. The Dovrat Report leaves nobody out: "Constant nurturing of the weak students."

Turning the page we find more promises. "The educational system must reduce gaps stemming from the students' socioeconomic background, their social background [i.e. Sephardic, Ashkenazi, etc.] or their place of residence . . ."

Nu, who does not want to reduce gaps? The majority of Israeli citizens, at least those who do not live in Kfar Shmarayahu, would like to see the level of study in every part of the country, including Dimona and Jaljulya, comparable to the standards in Herzliya and the like.

Later: "Significant improvement in the teaching profession and its status in order to transform teaching into a high- caliber, prestigious, sought-after profession. Greater demands will be placed on teachers and the authorities, and responsibilities imposed on them will be increased. The quality of their training will be raised, their hours will be increased and their pay will be substantially improved."

The parents of every student in Israel would back this principle. Who is not in favor of raising the level of instruction? What parent has not bemoaned the decline in teaching? And if teachers' salaries increase, my child only stands to gain.

Let's carry on. "Fortifying the status and independence of the school: The school and kindergarten are the center of educational endeavor. They will be given full responsibility, authority and autonomy in the fields of pedagogy, budgeting and organization. The school day will be lengthened and during the course of the day a range of educational activities will be held for the students and the community." The long school day is the dream of hundreds of thousands of parents, who would also be very pleased to see the school receive full funding autonomy. When offered eight hours a day of varied educational activities, who could refuse?

Our spirits rise from one moment to the next, particularly when we consider the high-school girl sitting in a class of 48 students as is typical in many Bais Yaakov schools. "Up to 35 students per classroom: According to the recommendation, every effort should be made to ensure that no more than 35 students study together in one class. The differential budget granted to schools with students from a low socioeconomic background will allow instruction in small study groups to boost students who encounter difficulties."

As we read the following lines our hearts fill with joy. "Public school from the age of three: Every child will be able to study at a public kindergarten starting from the age of three due to the great importance that the Task Force attributes to increasing every child's chances in the early years of his life." Dovrat rattles on profusely about dropping out of school, values and everything else under the sun.

After perusing the goals we all feel a part of the National Task Force; all of us are Dovrat. But before getting carried away, we should read a few words about how this is to be executed.

To address this question, 17 experts were brought into the National Task Force to build an organizational reform for the educational system. This reform sets many on fire and major wars are likely to break out. Here lies the heart of the matter. "Organizational change," says Dr. Mark, "cannot improve the quality of education [by itself]. There are factors far more important than the size of the school and various and strange structural changes."

The Grade Industry

What is Dovrat proposing? First and foremost the Core Curriculum Program. All schools from every sector will be required to teach a program based on the Core subjects, which include Hebrew, English, Arabic, math, universal fundamentals of civics — and Tanach in Hebrew-speaking schools.

The cardinal paragraph deals with the reorganization of the education system and the decentralization of responsibility. The Education Ministry is booted off to the side and for the most part it will be taken out of the picture.

Who will be left in charge of the schools? Meet the District Education Administration.

"The District Education Administration's professional, management and budgeting independence will be guaranteed. Every District Education Administration will operate as a closed financial administration and its resources will not be available for any other purpose. A District Education Council will be set up at every District Education Administration, headed by the heads of the local authorities and comprised of education professionals and community representatives. Among its tasks will be to approve policy decisions and long-range plans."

The District Education Administration's powers are unlimited. "The District Education Administration is responsible for comprehensive administration of all of the pedagogical, physical and administrative aspects of every educational institution in its jurisdiction, including informal education systems. School principals will be administratively subordinate to a single entity, the District Education Administration, whose tasks will include supervision, control and assessment of processes and the output of every school."

Listen carefully. The new organization, the District Education Administration, will be under the local authority. Why didn't we think of such a bright idea? An emblem of national efficiency, a marvel of administrative prowess and a wondrous example of the high-caliber public body totally free of waste, an administrative staff of rare professionalism— indeed, the local authority is the worthy choice to run education. The small-time politicians brimming with wily interests will be the ones to take up the reins of school administration.

And what will be if the education system comes to resemble the local authorities running it? What will be when it begins to reflect the deficit-ridden body that cannot pay wages for two years' time? Then we will find the previous education system had not hit rock bottom after all. There was still room for further decline.

What will happen when the local authority finds itself in a real mess?

It's easy enough to imagine the chaos that will reign in the Arab sector. The head of the local clan will decide the size of the teaching staff and his lackeys and cousins will replace the teachers at will. The head of the local authority, who will work according to regulations and will not succumb to pressure, will suddenly find himself needing four bodyguards to protect him.

At Jewish local councils, as well, the kinds not located between Hadera and Gedera and where the local parents are less intimidating—there too total chaos can be expected, as jobs are handed out based on the familiar you- save-me-a-spot- for-a-cleaning-worker-at-the-local-council- and-I'll-save-you- a-spot-for-a-10th-grade-physics-teacher formula.

One little question: What will the Education Ministry do with all its free time? Dovrat places quite a hefty burden on the Education Ministry clerks: "Its primary tasks will be determining policy, long-term planning, setting goals, budgeting, formulating the Core Curriculum program and defining standards, supervision and control of the execution of the policy and meeting the standards set, developing study programs, arranging plans, drawing conclusions and promoting programs in the national agenda."

Who would turn down a job like that? What a beautiful description of a job with no work. Tomorrow morning try telling the boss about the new job in the office. "I'm no longer a bookkeeper. It's a poor use of time and it's a shame to waste my talents on a job with such limited horizons. From now on I am in charge of determining policy, arranging programs, defining standards, long-term planning, handling supervision and control and most of all I will draw and draw - - twenty-four hours a day — I intend to draw conclusions."

The school will become an autonomous unit and the principal, at the top of the pyramid, will have greatly expanded powers. "Focusing authority and responsibility for educational endeavor at the school, places tremendous responsibility on the school principal, who will be the leader of the school apparatus. The principals' professionalism and status should be reinforced by training them to bear the expanded responsibility and their new tasks, and their salaries should be raised to reflect this responsibility and this will draw high-caliber forces to the profession."

And most of all: "The majority of the authority in the field of pedagogy, the funding and the operation of the personnel will be transferred to the schools and kindergarten clusters to be started. Principals will be required to run the educational institutions based on results-oriented management. Principals will be able to select employees and grant them flexibility by making use of the funding."

One small example of the principals' authorities is funding. "Funding, in all phases of education, will be monetary. At the disposal of every kindergarten cluster or school will be a sum of money equivalent to the amount of funding earmarked for it according to the various funding scales in the form of a single, universal sum. The principal can use it based on his own judgment, subject to the obligation to meet the wage agreements, with a committed policy and tasks set for the institution according to the guidelines set." The transformation of the principal into a hybrid dictator, industrial manager, budget setter and an object of obsequiousness will be discussed below.

The size of schools will change. At primary schools 250-600 students will be enrolled and no high school will exceed 1,000 students. "Schools smaller than the minimum will be combined," reads the report. "Schools larger than the maximum will be divided into two separate schools operating at a single facility. No primary school with fewer than 250 students will be opened.

The Dovrat Committee has determined that the division of studies into three periods—primary school, middle school and high school—causes difficulties for students. Therefore it recommends that students transfer only once during the course of their studies—from primary school to high school. Middle schools will be eliminated and every district education authority will be able to decide at what grade level students will make the change to high school.

What else? The task force is currently handling teachers' salaries and promotion. Many education experts claim that the caliber of teachers in Israel is very low. Many of them simply have to be discarded. That teachers' wages in Israel are disgraceful and far below international standards is undisputed. The Dovrat Committee tries to address this issue. Raising teachers' wages is desirable and constructive but the means and a portion of the terms are simply unfeasible.

"Teachers bear the brunt of responsibility for the work of education. In order to improve and advance the education system significantly, the demands placed upon them and the abilities of those pursuing the teaching profession should be raised. Along with improving their training they should be granted suitable terms for their work, giving them the needed assistance for their professional development and compensating them fairly.

"Teaching jobs will be at least eight hours per day, five days a week. During the course of a week's work the teacher will have 23-28 hours of classroom hours and the remaining time he will engage in one-on-one teaching, carry out various tasks at the school and perform other professional duties.

"Teachers' salaries will be comparable to that of civil servants with college degrees in accordance with their work, and promotion tracks will be available to reward professional advancement and achievement. Tenure will continue to be a component in salary determination but its weight will be significantly less than its current weight and will peak after 10-15 years. Emphasis will be placed on significant wages for teachers at the beginning of their careers."

Some teachers will be worth more, some less. "Terms of employment and teachers' salaries will be set through collective agreements. Special contracts will be allowed in special cases, which will be a small portion of all school teachers. At a later time the task force will assess ways to reward teachers or groups of teachers for excellence and to integrate excellence as a salary component."

Teacher training will be held after an interim period, but only at institutions recognized by the Council for Higher Education and authorized to award BA and BS degrees and teaching certificates. The entrance requirements for teacher training will be raised.

The Dovrat Committee, as befits a committee operating in Israel's achievement-oriented economic climate, uses the following words to describe its primary aim: "Goal-oriented education guided by results, based on an understanding that the quality of the process and its output is no less important than the amount of resources and outlays invested, can and must direct and run the educational process to direct it toward achieving goals and defined results. It is important to translate the vision and goals of education into clear priorities, quantifiable goals and long-term planning."

Did you read that paragraph three times and still cannot understand how the words fit together? We'll simplify the matter by speaking in terms of production lines. What does management do when a product is not lucrative enough? The production process and raw materials are analyzed and constant testing is performed in an effort to pinpoint the problem. The Dovrat Committee sees grades and achievements as a product, demands output from every student and therefore it suggests constant assessment.

Here's another little quote: "Gauging and assessment, taking responsibility and full disclosure of assessment and measuring will become part of the culture of administration throughout the system. Outside intervention in schools will be replaced by gauging and assessment as an administrative tool to serve the schools, both the district education administrations and the Education Ministry and the general public. An independent statutory unit will be set up, the National Authority for Measuring and Assessment, which will be the leading institution and the professional guide of the education system in the fields of measurement and assessment."

This should not be misunderstood. The education system must have something to show for itself. Studies are naturally achievement-oriented, which is what led to the concept of grades, certificates and degrees. But the Dovrat Committee places achievement at the top of the ladder of aspirations. Therefore the first national achievement exam will be already held in second grade. This is also the reason why considerable weight will be given to subjects held in high esteem around the world and in which exams are held everywhere, most notably mathematics, of course. In the early years of schooling emphasis will be placed on language studies, math and computer skills.

"A full school day should be introduced throughout the country at every school and kindergarten, from the age of 3 to 18," the Dovrat Committee recommends. "All kindergartens and schools will operate five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The teachers will remain at the school throughout the day and in addition to teaching will engage in tutoring and other professional activities."

The school year will be divided into two semesters. At all schools, classes will be held from the beginning of the school year to the end, including 11th and 12th grades. The summer break will be shortened by starting the school year on August 20 and moving the missing vacation time to the winter. Yossi Wasserman, secretary of the National Teachers' Organization, says the Chanukah Break will be replaced by the "January Break," which would allow Be'er Sheva students to go on ski trips in the Negev. No mention has been made of how the hot summer days will look in classrooms without air- conditioners (which are not funded in the Dovrat Report). Neither is any mention made of how parents will keep their children occupied during the "January Break."

"Something Cold and Detached About It"

What do those in the know have to say about the Dovrat Report?

First let's hear from the spokesmen for the children, the Council for Child Welfare. "A shake-up is good for every system, but it must be a shake-up that stirs new thinking and not a shake-up that will bring down the boat with all its passengers," says Council Chairman Dr. Yitzhak Kadmon.

Most of the report consists of slogans that are empty. They spoke about education and its importance but did nothing to extend the mandatory education law beyond 10th grade, they did not legally fix the minimum hours of study every student has a right to receive based on his age. Grandiose statements about education from the age of three? In practice they did not regulate education for young students from a standpoint of licensing, supervision, enforcement and setting standards. The Dovrat Report almost entirely failed to address the number of children per class. The Council suggests a maximum of 25 students per class.

"The Dovrat Report has good and bad things and perhaps our strongest criticism is not on what the report contains but what it lacks. The report is very eloquent but the committee did not have the sense to carry through by making truly binding recommendations. The report has almost no reference to substance, ethical questions; there is something cold and detached about it."

The report stresses raising the level of instruction at schools. Toward this end, numerous conclusions and recommendations on training and salaries are included, but sadly, "the report does not contain, even on a declarative level, the need to evaluate the teacher's personality and character."

Another example is the slogan, "Preventing students from dropping out of school." The committee repeatedly addresses the dropout problem with words but not actions. Says Kadmon, "The Committee placed much emphasis in its recommendations on the issue of raising achievement and excellence. Principals must by gauged not only according to measurements of achievement and excellence, but also according to their success in preventing students from dropping out."

The Council for Child Welfare continues with a harsh attack on the transition to a five-day week. "We were unconvinced," the Council told Yated Ne'eman. "We were unconvinced that all the consequences of this dramatic change were taken into account."

When switching to a five-day week first two conditions must be met: finding alternative arrangements for children on Friday mornings and ensuring that the physical conditions at all schools make it possible for children to remain for an extended time.

Wasserman has plenty of gripes regarding the hasty change and sees in his mind's eye seven-year-olds falling asleep on the desktops. "How can children stay at school until 4:00 p.m.?" he asks. Where will they spend all this time? Has someone prepared suitable infrastructures? Everyone is full from all the talk about the hot lunch program, yet nobody is attending to the task of providing the conditions needed to feed the children. Where will the students eat? At their desks? What about air conditioning? Places to keep the backpacks? And 1,001 details involved in transforming the school to a home away from home?

On Friday, students will stay home. Here the enormous social gaps emerging in Israel society will come into play. "Broad statements on programs for children on Fridays are not enough," says the Council for Child Welfare. "The solution must be free of charge, flexible, readily available, clear and anchored in actual commitments."

What will happen in practice?

Wealthy parents from Ramat Aviv Gimmel will start a private school for Fridays, will pay good money for it and will receive enrichment studies —science, art and intensive activities —for their children. What about parents from Sderot and South Tel Aviv, who are really the majority of parents in the country and who cannot afford such programs? They will sit at work thinking about their children roaming the streets. It should be kept in mind that approximately 40 percent of working parents work on Fridays, too. How many of them will be able to stay home to keep an eye on a bored child?

Teachers associations are irate over the schedule change. The majority of teachers are women, stresses Wasserman, and a woman teacher who comes home at 4:00 will be unable to advance professionally. "She will come home and, like every mother, will have to take care of her children and her home, leaving her no time for advanced training and preparing for school. I am concerned this could lead to large-scale flight from the profession."

Teacher training will be more involved. Teachers will have to study for four years and then work as a classroom aide before taking a test to receive a teaching license.

Meanwhile, changes in compensation arrangements will spell the end to the "morah em" bonus, which provides a pay increase of 10 percent for teachers with a child under the age of 18, and a bitter end to compensation for advanced coursework ("gmul hishtalmut"). How will teachers' pay be determined? Teachers will be ranked alef, beit, etc., with seniority as the primary component. There will be tenure but every five years the teacher will get promoted in rank. Every promotion will require approval by the principal, who will be able to decide on an individual basis whether the teacher is worthy of a raise.

Dr. Mark, the Tel Aviv expert, sees the empowerment of the principal as a grave development.

"The principal will turn into a little dictator," warns Wasserman, the union official. "He will be able to decide a teacher's pay and worse than that, he will be able to toss him out of the system."

How? Remember, the principal has the school budget under his control. The Dovrat Committee sees him as an all-powerful entity, the perfect combination of economic wizard and pedagogical authority. The principal will decide that the aging teacher is costing the school too much and will opt to hire two younger teachers instead. He will set the curriculum and will decide if Teacher X fails to instill positive values and belongs somewhere else.

The principals' stature emphasizes, more than anything else, the commercial perspective guiding the Dovrat Committee. This is not the way to build education, says Dr. Mark. The school will be transformed into a frightening battlefield where every teacher will fight for his place and to gain the principal's favor in order to secure a promotion. Flattery will reign and teachers will turn into their colleague's enemies. "The ABC's of education are based on cooperation," emphasizes Dr. Mark. "Teachers have to work together to help the student, to build a work program for him. A rival teacher fighting for his position who thinks his colleague is liable to steal his place will not cooperate."

Rivalry and competitiveness are important in building a successful business. They lead to profits for commercial enterprises, but cause tremendous losses in the field of education. A school does not operate like a business, for a school is not a company and teachers are not supposed to compete for their pay, treading over values and using students as evidence of their success.

"In general, why should children be tested all the time?" asks Dr. Mark. "Why is there a need for an enormous exam in 2nd grade, for school assessment and a body to gauge achievement? Through this businesslike approach the child turns into a machine for output, for the raw material of the education industry. Where is the education? Where is the child? Where is his mental state and stability? Where is the happiness, curiosity and creativity? Where is the pleasure in learning?"

A Conspiracy Against Children?

Where does this business plan come from? Dr. Mark offers a chilling thesis. "I hope this is merely speculation and not a grounded theory. I hope it proves to be wrong."

Admittedly her hypothesis does sound a bit conspiratorial but the logic and foundation for it are hard to ignore.

"Dovrat is demanding NIS 11 billion to implement the report," explains Dr. Mark. "In practice, the Education Ministry budgeted it at only NIS 1.7 billion. The enormous gaps in the budgeting are more than a bit strange and raised serious suspicions in my eyes. In my opinion and to my trepidation nobody really intends to implement this reform. The intentions are perhaps entirely different and are not found in the educational arena, but in the political, ideological and social arena."

The idea, claims Dr. Mark, comes from Netanyahu, the big proponent of neo-liberalism, and from faithful Finance Ministry officials. Netanyahu and his Finance Ministry staffers never intended to implement the Dovrat Report, she says. Rather the reform is a tool for them in their attempts to adapt American models to the system in Israel. Keep in mind that the social solidarity in the State of Israel has long since unraveled and every day new holes gape open in the social safety net.

The proponents of neo-liberalism have two primary objectives. The first is to gradually free the state from having to fund education, just as it freed itself from the public health care system. The health system is collapsing. The Association for the War Against Cancer is calling on patients not to receive radiation treatments using aging equipment, medication is becoming more expensive and many sick people cannot afford to buy the drugs they need.

The decentralization of educational authority and its transfer from the Education Ministry to the local authorities will free the State from its responsibility for education. Netanyahu, Dr. Mark claims, wants to eliminate public education, which will quickly bring us to a situation in which parents who can afford it register their child for a private kindergarten as soon as the child is born and pay enormous sums to keep him in school. Within a few years this will create one form of education for the rich and another for the poor.

The second objective is to weaken the unions—the Teachers' Union is large and strong—and fragment the Histadrut and the minimal protection they provide workers. "The State of Israel has transformed into a state of evil for the workers. It seeks every possible way to neutralize the workers' power and to turn them into slaves."

This reform, warns Dr. Mark, has been tried in many places around the world and failed dismally. Why do we, she asks regretfully, adopt theories that have been proven failures in other countries and attempt to revive them ten years after their demise?

"If the Dovrat Report is implemented in full," warns Wasserman, "a commission of inquiry will be set up a few years from now to investigate the colossal failures of the education system and the reasons for these failures. An education system that marches along the Dovrat path marches to perdition."

The businessmen on the Dovrat Committee erred in their central conclusion. Failures in business translate into monetary losses that lead to drawing conclusions, making heads roll and adopting a new direction. Failures in education translate into violence, a lack of values, poor achievement and a high dropout rate that lead to a committee that draws conclusions that will hopefully be left to wither and die on the shelf, otherwise they will be adopted in the heat of the debate.

"The Dovrat Report will be Implemented"

"The Dovrat Report will be implemented," said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the ceremony accompanying the presentation of the Dovrat Report to the government. "There is a need for a fundamental revitalization of the education system, although the education system in its existing form has not failed. I see graduates from the [school] system at the vanguard of the war on terror and in the upper ranks of industry. We want the reform to pass with as large a majority as possible. I call on the Minister of Education, the teachers' organizations and the local authorities to sit down together. Our intention is to thoroughly attend to the status of the teacher."

At the ceremony, Education Minister L. Livnat said, "The report will effect reform not only in the education system but in the entire civic perspective." Education Ministry Director-General R. Tirosh said the ministry has set up a team headed by Dovrat Committee Coordinator Shmulik Har-Noy in order to start implementing the committee's conclusions already at the beginning of the coming year, in order to reach "a point of no return."

Based on the recent coalition agreement between UTJ and the Likud, the chareidi educational system will not be required to implement the recommendations.

According to government estimates 9,000-14,000 teachers will be dismissed, but Dovrat says this number need not cause alarm since it includes some 6,000 teachers who drop out of the teaching profession every year and others who will be given incentives to leave the profession. Teachers' organizations contend that up to 30,000 teachers could lose their jobs.

The Dovrat Report recommends raising entry-level salaries from the current NIS 3,300 ($750) to NIS 5,500 ($1,250), but meanwhile their hours will be increased from 25 to 40 hours per week. Tenured teachers will earn a maximum of NIS 8,250 ($1,900).

According to Ron Erez, chairman of the Organization of Upper- School Teachers, "In effect teachers' per-hour pay will decrease rather than increase and veteran teachers will not be rewarded according to their worth. The rise in entry-level pay will create a bait to attract people to teaching and to trap them in the system."

But Shmuel Dovrat insists that teachers will be getting paid for the work they now do at home. "All we are saying is that a teacher, during the hours he is not in class and with the provision of suitable physical conditions, remain at the school. This is how teachers work around the world. Nowhere in the world does a teacher just teach in front of the class and do the rest of his hours at home," says Dovrat.

Teachers' organizations sent the Prime Minister a letter opposing the Dovrat Report and demanding a meeting. A joint statement issued by the Teachers' Union and the Organization of Upper School-Teachers read, "Based on familiarity with the report and analysis, and familiarity with the education system, the Dovrat Committee recommendations mean over 20,000 teachers will be dismissed in the next five years. These figures were confirmed by ranking Finance Ministry officials such as Yuval Rachlevsky. The teachers who remain will have to work harder in more crowded classrooms."


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