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Class warfare: What the press is saying on October 26

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26.10.2020

1. The class ceiling: After days of internal squabbling, ministers voted to do pretty much the only thing they could do, open elementary schools for fourth grade and younger, though first and second grades will only go to class half of the time due to a lack of planning for capsules in their classes.

  • Perhaps trying to get in front of the inevitable backlash as parents of first and second graders realize their nightmare of having little kids home is not totally over, the Education Ministry gives a number of reasons it has to be this way, instead of having grades three and four splitting time.
  • As recounted by Haaretz, these grades are significantly larger than the other grades and the extra teachers they have are not equipped to teach first and second grades: “Most of the instructors enlisted at the start of the year to beef up the education system are for third and fourth grades, and so ‘support instructors’ are lacking training in that area of education.”
  • Walla news quotes Education Minister Yoav Gallant saying that whatever ministers decide, it needed to be decided fast so that the system will at least have a chance to prepare a bit. “Anything to do with enlisting thousands of people can only be done after a budget is passed. Once we make a decision tonight we will translate it into cooperation with parents, teachers and the unions. We are waiting impatiently for a decision on which way to go.”
  • But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted in Channel 13 saying that the kitty is empty: “We came to the conclusion that we cannot fund pods for first and second grades.”
  • The channel reports that that left three options: “Open the classes by halves [for alternating groups of pods], push off the opening in favor of the early opening of businesses, or both together.”
  • In Israel Hayom, Noam Dvir points out that when it comes to linkage between opening the economy and opening schools, it’s generally most important for younger grades with kids who need to be watched. Middle schoolers and high schoolers do not presumably need to be babysat by otherwise working parents.
  • Anyway, having the older kids go to school before the younger ones is just not done, he claims: “The general rule in the education system is you first worry about the youngest, smallest, most tender. That’s how we deal with preschool kids, and that’s what needs to be done with grades 1-2. Nobody wants to have third and fourth grades being taught like everything is normal while some 350,000 kids in first and second grade stay at home.”

2. Power to the little people: There was another option, apparently, which would have involved delegating some power toward the unschooled masses.

  • Kan reports, “During the discussion, the Health Ministry looked into whether local authorities could help get the capsule system up and running for........

    © The Times of Israel


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