Most Israeli Parents Back Funding for Poorer School Kids, Haaretz Poll Shows

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of parents are satisfied with their children’s schools, especially in the ultra-Orthodox community.

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Yarden Skop

Sixty-three percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with the state’s policies for funding education, saying they are discriminatory and increase social gaps, according to a Haaretz survey. In the poll, 69 percent of parents support funding that favors children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Education Ministry currently skews funding in favor of such children and has long considered augmenting these efforts.

“Today the education system’s allocation method is not differential enough. In some cases not only does the weak student not get more than the strong student, he even gets less,” Noa Heiman, the Finance Ministry’s education liaison, said in November.

“We think the allocation of teaching hours must give priority to students from weak backgrounds. That’s done today, but not enough,” she said in a discussion at the Sderot Conference.

The survey was conducted in the run-up to the Jerusalem Education Conference on Sunday. It was sponsored by Haaretz and the Jerusalem municipality.

The survey questioned 517 Israelis from a project directed by Dr. Ariel Ayalon that provides people willing to take part in surveys. The poll was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University.

The children of 70 percent of the respondents go to state schools, 18 percent to state religious schools and 12 percent to ultra-Orthodox schools. The respondents come from all over the country.

According to the survey, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with their children’s schools. This number was 84 percent among ultra-Orthodox parents, 72 percent among state-religious-school parents and 65 percent among state-school parents.

Thirty-four percent of parents said their children’s school was a major consideration in choosing a place to live. For 21 percent the school played some role in that choice, while for 45 percent it played no role.

Asked whether the Education Ministry or the local authority played a greater role in determining a school’s quality, 33 percent said the local authority, 26 percent said the ministry, 29 percent said neither and 12 percent said they did not know.

The survey also asked about payments that schools demand of parents. Ten percent of parents said the payments were very reasonable, 35 percent said they were reasonable, 33 percent said not so reasonable and 20 percent said totally unreasonable.

Fifty-seven percent said they had reduced spending in other crucial areas to finance their children’s education, while 43 percent said they had not.

A high-school class in Haifa. Illustrative photo.Credit: Ilya Melnikov

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