Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dollars and Cents--Sh'kalim v'Agorot

The Israeli Government wants to save money, and it has decided that instead of limiting the amount of government ministers and their perks, and instead of stopping the outrageously high priced apartheid wall, and instead of using proper business judgement in planning and hiring for the Jerusalem rail system, and instead of all sorts of other sensible ideas...

The present Israeli Government, like its predecessor, has decided that the problem lies with the Education system. It's just not efficient, successful and effective enough. It must be run like a business, and all good, successful businessmen know that the key is to get the most work out of the most menial of laborers. Of course, that's why the management gets paid so generously. So, just like Limor Livnat--remember her?-- did in the Sharon Government, Olmert's Yuli Tamir brought in the best business managers to Reform the Education System.

No, she didn't bother with experienced teachers. What do they know?

Well, these managers came up with a plan, Dovrat plus, which requires teachers to put a lot more time into a "full-time" job, with a slight raise in monthly wage. If you read their pr about it, note that they never, ever mention hourly wages. That's because the hourly wage is much less than before, especially for veteran teachers and for young mothers. They claim that by being in the schools more hours, there will be time for the preparation we presently don't get paid for, but that's not true. They also require a certain amount of tutoring and meetings during those hours. And the schools do not have facilities, space and equipment for the entire staff to sit and prepare.

But something else. No where does the plan call for reduced class size; so if teachers are teaching more hours, that means that fewer teachers will be needed. Also, Israeli many schools are relatively small, and there just aren't enough hours for the specific subject teachers to get full-time positions. Teachers will be fired, squeezed out, or flee. Those, who aren't "homeroom teachers, who have checked out the new deal of Education Reform have discovered that their salaries would be seriously reduced, because most of the "extra hours" don't go to English, history, etc.



The basic rationale behind the "reform" is to squeeze more work from teachers for less pay per hour.

The reason that Israeli results in international ratings have gone down is because the politicians in the Education Ministry consistently adopts faddish, failed methods and not longer has "old-fashioned" basic learning skills and concepts on the curriculum.

Paying the teachers less per hour will only turn them into babysitters and won't encourage the best to stay in the system. Teaching is an "art," not a calling. An artist needs time to recoup energies. Teaching is a talent and should be included as one of Gardiner's Multiple Intelligences. I'd like to see those business experts survive in the classroom, without the help of administrative staff for all of the paperwork and preparation, grading etc we must do.

The preposterous, chutzpadik proposal to pay teachers less per hour is an insult to our pockets and to our intelligence. If they want to add to the requirements and hours of a full-time teacher, fine, but don't reduce the hourly wage. And please leave us with the option of working less than full-time, if that's what we want and need for a proportional part of a full-time salary.
  • The fact that the Histadrut, which has mostly elementary school teachers, signed this agreement is treasonous to its members.
  • The fact that its members haven't resigned en masse frightens me, too. It shows their low level of comprehension. Are they the ones educating our young children?

It's hard to believe that this present teachers strike is the longest in Israeli history. The Supreme Court is to rule on forcing teachers back to work. The following pictures of pro-strike demonstrators were taken there recently.



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