Silvio Scanagatta
Barbara Segatto

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For Italian Law
Iscrizione n.2165 - 13.02.2009 - Registro Stampa Tribunale di Padova

Direttore Responsabile: Giulia Golo

Negotiating Between Equality and Choice – A Dilemma of Israeli Educational Policy in Historical Context

TitleNegotiating Between Equality and Choice – A Dilemma of Israeli Educational Policy in Historical Context
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBerger Z
Date Published06/2014
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsideological educational trends, Israel, pre-state background

In this article, I focus upon an underlying and recurring tension between two recurring and often interrelated areas of tension in Israeli education, the interplay between centralizing and decentralizing tendencies, and the clash between the values of equality and choice. I show how these tensions come to fore in relation to three turning points in Israeli educational policy formation: 1) the abolition of state recognition of political and ideological trends of education in 1953; 2) the educational reform and integration program of 1968-69 and subsequent efforts of implementation; 3) the various proposals and programs of decentralization, recognizing community schools, school autonomy, school-based management and parental choice of the 1980’s and ‘90’s, whose effects are felt to this day. I then bring a number of prominent examples of ideologically oriented choice initiatives which have emerged within the last 3 decades in Israeli state education, and I argue for the encouragement of such initiatives, while ensuring through proper regulation that the commitment to equality be maintained. I also argue that striving for true educational equality for peripheral communities requires vast resources, and that with proper regulatory frameworks the ‘third sector’ can and should be part of this process. Within this context, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), foundations and private donors may be seen as potential strengthening agents of public education, rather than as facilitators of its dissolution.