Parental Choice in Israel's Educational System: Theory vs. Praxis [Book Review]

Studies in Philosophy and Education 19 (5/6):445-464 (2000)
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In the last two decades the Israeli educational system has undergone major changes which have transformed it from a state-controlled, overly bureaucratic and almost fully state-financed system into a decentralized, partly locally controlled and increasingly privately financed system. Advocates of this transformation of the educational system appeal to the ideal of parental choice. They argue that the implementation of parental choice programs in education shows more respect to the children and their unique talents, take their self-realization seriously and promotes equal opportunities in education. The ideal of parental choice is also upheld in relation to value of cultural pluralism. Supporters of educational autonomy advocate the restructuring of schools in a way allowing them to develop a unique climate and curriculum consistent with respective communities and parents' preferences. The aim of this paper is to assess critically the changes that Israeli educational system has undergone against the background of the principle of equal educational opportunities. The main claim of the paper is that these changes undermine this principle. It will be argued that these changes actually cater mainly to the educational interests of middle and upper middle classes in Israeli society



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