Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Tammuz 5766 - July 19, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Betzedek Argues Teachers Should be Compensated for Preparing Students for Szold Exams

by Betzalel Kahn

Betzedek is working to reverse a discriminatory Education Ministry directive to compensate teachers for test preparation only if the students take the Bagrut Exams, thereby excluding teachers at chareidi high schools for girls, where students take the Szold Exams.

In 1989 an agreement was signed between teachers' organizations and the State, setting terms of employment for all instructors regardless of the type of school or institution. The agreement included pay bonuses for extra hours spent preparing students for standardized exams. But two years ago the Education Ministry decided to add a very directed interpretation to one of the paragraphs in the agreement to say that it only referred to preparation for students who take Bagrut (Matriculation) exams.

After the Education Ministry's legal department rejected several requests, Betzedek Director Atty. Rabbi Mordechai Green filed a preliminary High Court petition against the Education Ministry's directive.

In its most recent letter the organization notes that despite the heading "Compensation for Bagrut Exams Preparation," a different agreement is held to refer both to these matriculation exams as well as others not in the framework of the reform. Clearly the agreement is broad enough to apply to alternative matriculation exams, writes Atty. Green.

He also argues that the heading of the agreement, "Wages and Terms of Employment for Workers Hired and Ranked as Instruction Workers," clearly includes teachers at chareidi high schools. Betzedek says that a narrow interpretation of the agreement automatically creates discrimination against Agudas Yisroel teachers compared to teachers from the Teachers' Union and the Association of Upper School Teachers.

Betzedek emphasized that the Szold Exams are not easier than the Bagrut Exams and the preparation for them is really much harder and a bigger burden on the teacher, adding that the Szold exams were approved by the Education Ministry's Oversight Committee as a suitable alternative for the Bagrut and that the Szold Institute writes both these exams and the theoretical sections of the Bagrut Exams.

If the problem is not solved otherwise, Betzedek said it would be compelled to file a High Court petition to counter the discrimination against teachers at chareidi high schools.


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