Math Students’ Parents Take Ministry to Court

Parents petition High Court, saying Education Minister Piron’s decision on advanced math class doesn’t add up.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Shay Piron in Ministry's "situation room" on first day of school year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Shay Piron in Ministry's "situation room" on first day of school year. Credit: GPO

Parents of advanced high-school math students last week petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Education Ministry and its minister, Shay Piron. They demanded that Piron show cause why he will not allow students going into 9th and 10th grade this year to end their advanced course as planned and take the matriculation exam in 10th grade.

There are 650 students who have been studying extra math hours since 8th grade so they could sit for the five-unit matriculation exam at the end of 10th grade. Last year, Piron announced that, as part of his “significant learning” program, students would no longer be allowed to take matriculation exams in math in the 10th grade.

In their petition, the parents – who have been fighting the new directive for several months – said the advanced program “has been in existence for years, with the support and encouragement of all officials associated with it. Graduates of the program receive the best possible education and receive high grades in the matriculation exams at the end of 10th grade.”

The parents noted that finishing their matriculation exam in the 10th grade allows these students to go on in 11th grade to academic studies in math and science, and to complete their bachelor’s degree before they go into the army if they defer their service in cooperation with the army.

‘All kinds of slogans’

The petition states that Piron “cynically and oddly refused to allow students who have already finished a year or two in the program to complete it as planned ... The petition comes to prevent serious damage, completely unnecessarily, to some 650 talented and motivated students.”

According to the Education Ministry’s decision, students already in the program will be able to take the matriculation exam at the end of 11th grade.

The parents also stated in the petition that “especially in light of the dwindling number of students taking the five-unit math matriculation exam, the respondent [Piron] should be taking the opposite position, and encouraging students who express interest and ability to take the exam and move ahead to higher math studies.”

One of the petitioners, Avi Benjo, the father of a 10th grader in the program, said: “We expect that at least the students already in the program be allowed to take the test as it has been until now. They go into the program with certain expectations of what will happen. At the moment, this is being destroyed for them.

“It is very frustrating that we had to reach the High Court,” Benjo added. “We have been corresponding with the Education Ministry for months and they have not yet answered and said why this decision was made. They use all kinds of slogans like ‘significant learning’ but they don’t give a real answer.”

The Education Ministry said it would respond in the High Court.

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