Excluded From Exclusive High School, Ashdod Parents Opt to 'Home School'

Parents in Ashdod have opened a makeshift private high school after the city enrolled their children in relatively distant schools instead of a nearer institution that is deemed to be the best in town.

The makeshift school began operating shortly after the school year started on September 1. The parents who started it in a private home in the city's 12th district (Rova Yud-Bet) are refusing to send their children to the high schools the city assigned them, a few kilometers from where the 16 children live. The 12th district boasts what is considered one of the best high schools in the city, Mekif Tet.

"We're paying a lot of money to a private tutor to teach the children math, English and social studies," one parent, Tuvya Glazer, told Haaretz. The parents say that all the privately tutored children meet the scholastic requirements of Mekif Tet, but have been sent elsewhere after junior-high graduates from other parts of town "took their places."

The municipality says enrolling the children from the 12th District outside the area and in the south of the city resulted from trying to keep class size to a maximum of 35 students.

But the parents say their children have been sent out of Mekif Tet because of nepotism and "people with connections from different parts of the city who secured a spot for their children," as Glazer put it.

"The city's decision to lower the maximum number of students from 42 to 35 is a positive one, but we cannot agree to other people using their connections at our expense," he said.

The makeshift school parents refused the city's offer to subsidize the pupils' travel expenses.

Nati Ilan, a mother of one of the boys attending the makeshift school, said her family moved to the 12th District of Ashdod just so her son could attend Mekif Tet. "I'm paying almost double rent now, and we will not agree to send our boy to any other high school but Mekif Tet," she said.

Glazer added: "We know we are breaking the law by not sending our children to school. I hope this will be resolved soon, and that the children will be going to school at Mekif Tet."

The law requires parents who wish to home school their children to obtain special permission, pending review.

On the parents' complaints, the city said that 98 percent of all pupils "are attending the institutions to which they were assigned." The city's spokesperson added: "There will always be those who are displeased with placement. We hope the parents will accept the placement and send their children to school soon."