Education and Community

"100 Days" Paper Presented at Bimat Mandel

Over the course of a six-week learning exercise held in November and December at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, fellows of cohort 20 prepared a paper entitled "100 Days in Education," containing recommendations for the incoming Minister of Education following January's elections. The recommendations address eight subjects: the role of the school supervisor, the Meitzav key stage assessment tests, differential budgeting, professional development for teachers, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) education, education in the Arab sector, innovation in pedagogy, and the school environment.

The paper (in Hebrew) can be downloaded here.

The paper was pre​sented by the fellows at an event held at the Mandel Leadership Institute as part of the Bimat Mandel ("Mandel Platform") series, on December 31, 2012. The presentation included three short animated videos, each dealing with one of the recommendations, and also featured fello​ws talking about their own personal experiences as educators. The videos can be seen here:


The School Environment
​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012
Teacher Training
​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012
The Role of the Supervisor
​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012

​Among the presenters was Avi Or, who spoke of his experiences as principal of the Branco Weiss high school in Bet Shemesh:

Following the fellows' presentation, three speakers responded to the paper's recommendations: Shlomit Amichai, chairperson of "Teach First Israel" (a program that brings talented young university graduates into teaching) and former director-general of the Ministry of Education; Prof. Itzhak Galnoor, former commissioner of the Israel civil service and a senior fellow at the Van Leer Institute; and Prof. Moshe Halbertal, professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of faculty at the Mandel Leadership Institute.

All three respondents noted the intensive thought and consideration reflected in the recommendations. According to Shulamit Amichai, the suggestions might have been better based on a unifying factor, an expression of vision - for example, the image of the ideal graduate and the ideal teacher that the educational system should produce. With regard to the Meitzav achievement tests, Amichai questioned whether they are truly necessary. She expressed support for the recommendation to grant greater autonomy to teachers and principals and said that in her opinion, regulation and oversight of schools should be reduced to a minimum, so that each school can choose for itself its own sources of inspiration.

Prof. Itzhak Galnoor expressed his great admiration to the fellows for formulating such comprehensive recommendations in such a short time. At the same time, he believes that it is very difficult to produce genuine change in ​100 days. Galnoor, too, supported the recommendation to grant greater autonomy to principals and teachers, going so far as to argue that the role of superintendent should be abolished entirely and that schools should move closer to the "flat administration" model - that is - eliminate intermediate levels of supervision as much as possible. According to him, the recommendations could have been worded with less caution and greater confidence.

Prof. Moshe Halbertal chose to relate to the recommendation on strengthening inclusive regulation in the Haredi sector. He complimented the authors for identifying an opportune moment when the state is willing to stop ignoring the Haredi school system and the latter is willing to become part of the established educational system. Halbertal also referred to the recommendation to apply differential budgeting to the entire educational system and not only to elementary schools, as is presently the case. However, there are two issues that, in his view, the recommendations do not address: (a) the fact that the educational system, one of whose roles is to create opportunities for upward mobility, in fact perpetuates socio-economic gaps; and (b) that university lecturers feel that high school does not sufficiently prepare students for university, with the result that one of the great assets of Israeli society - academic ​excellence - is diminishing.


Shlomit Amichai
​​​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012
Prof. Itzhak Galnoor​
​​​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012
Prof. Moshe Halbertal​
​​​​Bimat Mandel, December 12, 2012

To conclude, the respondents were asked which of the recommendations was the most important in their eyes. There was surprising unanimity in this regard. All three agreed that the key recommendation is the one relating to the professional development of teachers. Prof. Halbertal: "The excellence of the system lies in its people, meaning that the central question is how to attract the best manpower to the profession." Shulamit Amichai: "What we need is quality in the learning sphere and quality in the teaching sphere. Faith in the teacher should be emphasized." Prof. Galnoor: "We should be speaking of the new Israeli not as a fighter, but as a teacher. Teachers should be our top priority. There is a process of commercialization in the educational system, and we have to say to the [education] minister that the product of education is not a standard commodity. The product of education is getting lost among the achievement tests."



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