Equality and Multiculturalism in Public Education: Thoughts About the Present, Proposals for the Future
Author: Nachum Blass and Yossi Shavit
December 26, 2016
This opinion article highlights the need to rethink the underlying ideology behind public education. In this new framework, the authors emphasize the importance of equality as the guiding principle of the education system while not sanctifying uniformity if this would violate the right of each community to educate according to its worldview.
Although the past ten years have been relatively good years for the education system, the prevailing feeling is that education, especially public education, is in crisis. The education system in Israel is mostly public, and is based on the Compulsory Education Law (enacted immediately upon the establishment of the state with amendments over time) and on the State Education Law (1953). The two laws are intended to ensure equal education, giving all of Israel’s children a common basis of knowledge and values, with funding and oversight by the state. This education is intended to teach contents determined and approved by the Ministry of Education, and in parallel to grant various communities — religious, national and cultural-ideological — the opportunity to preserve and strengthen their uniqueness.
This opinion piece appears in the Center’s annual publication, State of the Nation Report 2016, edited by Prof. Avi Weiss.