The funding for state education comes from four sources: the central government, local councils or municipalities, private organizations, and parents. Arab schools on average receive proportionately less money than Jewish schools from each of these sources.
The greatest source, by far, is the central government, which is legally responsible for providing free education to children ages three to seventeen.131 Through the Ministry of Education, the government accredits schools, determines curricula and approves textbooks; certifies, hires, supervises, and pays teachers; administers the matriculation examinations and awards diplomas; and finances about three quarters of the total cost of education.132 Local governments are responsible for setting up and maintaining educational facilities, and providing administrative staff. Their funding comes from local taxes and transfers from the central government, including the Ministry of Education. Organizations such as the Jewish Agency, which is privately funded but which fulfills certain basic government functions, have historically funded only Jewish education, but their role has decreased in recent years. Supplements to the basic school day, funded by parents and known as "gray education," have increased in importance as real funding from the government has decreased.
International law requires states to provide education "without discrimination of any kind irrespective of the child's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status."133 As a party to the Convention against Discrimination in Education, Israel must not allow "in any form of assistance granted by the public authorities to educational institutions, any restrictions or preference based solely on the ground that pupils belong to a particular group."134
For at least the last ten years, Israeli government bodies have acknowledged that the government spends more on Jewish students than on Palestinian Arab students.135 The State Comptroller documented this gap in several annual reports in the 1990s. In February 2001, the Israeli government reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that:
In the last decade, the government has attempted to correct, at least in part, for certain inequalities in government funding to Palestinian Arabs by allocating lump sums of money through what it has called "five-year plans." In plans passed in 1991 and 1998, allocations were made for Arab education, but these plans have been implemented only in part.137 In July 1999, the Ministry of Education announced that it was activating a five-year plan to allocate NIS 250 million ($62.5 million)--NIS 50 million ($12.5 million) annually--to correct imbalances in education. Following demonstrations in early October 2000 in which thirteen Palestinian Arab citizens were killed, the Prime Minister's office on October 22, 2000, ratified a plan to allocate NIS 4 billion ($1 billion) over four years to seventy-four Arab localities that included some funding for Arab education.138 Because the funds for these plans are not separately designated, it is impossible to determine whether they were allocated in the 2001 budget.139in 1991, the total investment in education per pupil in Arab municipalities was approximately one-third of the investment per pupil in Jewish municipalities. Government investment per Arab pupil was approximately 60% of the investment per Jewish pupil.136
Even if all aspects of the 1991, 1998, 1999, and 2000 plans were to be fully implemented, the monies allocated are insufficient to equalize the two systems or correct past discrimination against Palestinian Arab students.140 Most importantly, none of the plans address the most significant structural problems in the Arab educational system. For example, the education provisions of the 1999 plan consist of supplementary programs for only a limited number of schools, implemented by private contractors, not by the education system itself. The plan does not address schools' physical conditions and focuses on only a small minority of Palestinian Arab students. The Adva Center, a nonprofit policy analysis and advocacy organization, concluded that "the Ministry of Education's decision to focus in its five-year plan on the advancement of a minority of Arab pupils is misguided. . . . [T]his decision was evidently meant to assure fast results; since a small percentage of Arab high schoolers qualify for matriculation certificates, even a small increase in their numbers would probably raise the overall proportion considerably."141 More generally, the 1999 five-year plan fails to change the way the education system works:
The 1999 plan began operating in early 2001, and not all targeted schools had the programs at the time of writing.143Apparently the Ministry of Education would like to attain this worthy goal at minimum cost, without undertaking to improve the Arab education system on a permanent basis. If the Ministry outsources the program, the funds earmarked for it will not be added to the budget base of the Arab education system. In other words, the privatization of the five-year plan makes this allocation a nonrecurrent and replaceable item that, in all probability, will not have a sustained effect. Furthermore, the project will not enhance the capabilities of Arab teachers, because most of the contractors will probably be Jewish agencies that have already participated in similar projects for the Education Ministry. As privatization continues apace, the Ministry and the contractors become interdependent. As the contractors prosper, gather strength, and become permanent fixtures, the Ministry accustoms itself to tackling education problems not by making substantive and long-term change but by putting out fires by means of private firefighters.142
The Ministry of Education provides several kinds of funding to schools. The largest amount goes to teachers' salaries and related expenses such as in-service teacher training. The second type funds a great variety of supplemental programs, both enrichment and remedial, that play a critical role in the Israeli education system. Some of this funding is purportedly allocated on the basis of need, although even the least needy schools depend heavily on this funding. The ministry also finances school construction.
Despite its acknowledgement of past disparities in its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Israeli government does not officially release data on how much it spends total per Palestinian Arab child compared with how much it spends per Jewish child. There are no separate lines in the budget for Arab education,144 and when Human Rights Watch requested this information, the Deputy Director General, Head, Economics and Budgeting Administration, in Ministry of Education, on behalf of the ministry's director general, responded: "On the Ministry level (headquarters and districts), the administration, operation and inspection are common to both Hebrew and Arab education. Similarly, there is no budgetary separation. Therefore, I regret that it is not possible for us to determine the exact amount spent on Arab education."145
The government's continued failure to make public such basic data further indicates the weakness of its commitment to real improvements in the Arab education system. As a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Israel is required to monitor educational programs and spending patterns, to disaggregate educational data "by the prohibited grounds of discrimination," and to use this information "to identify and take measures to redress any de facto discrimination."146
The government allocates much, but not all, funding in terms of "teaching hours," one teaching hour being a unit that represents a particular sum of money. The Ministry of Education referred Human Rights Watch to the 1990/2000 distribution of teaching hours when we requested information about how much it spends per Palestinian Arab student and per Jewish student.147 According to the ministry, "[t]he schools' main resource is that of teaching positions, 72% of the total budget in 2001."148 Because not all teaching hours are worth the same amount and vary in value from year to year, it is difficult to convert the allocation of teaching hours into exact sums of money.149 Nonetheless, comparison of how teaching hours are distributed between Jewish and Arab education does show how resources are apportioned.
At every grade level, Arab education receives proportionately fewer teaching hours than Jewish education. In 1999-2000, although 21.4 percent of children in kindergarten through secondary schools were Palestinian Arab, only 18.4 percent of total teaching hours were allocated to Arab education.150
Sources: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, table 22.27; and Ministry of Education, Proposed Budget for the Ministry of Education 2001 and Explanations as Presented to the Fifteenth Knesset, no. 11, October 2000, p. 144.
For example, Arab official (government-run) kindergartens received 11.5 percent of the teaching hours for kindergarten education, while Jewish official kindergartens received the remaining 88.5 percent. Arab primary schools received 21.7 percent of the teaching hours for primary education, and Arab secondary schools received 15.3 percent of the teaching hours for secondary education.
Per student, in 1999-2000, Jewish students received an average of 1.84 teaching hours per week, and Palestinian Arab students received an average of 1.51 teaching hours per week. The differences were greatest at the kindergarten through intermediate levels and smaller at the secondary level.
Sources: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, table 22.27; and Ministry of Education, Proposed Budget for the Ministry of Education 2001 and Explanations as Presented to the Fifteenth Knesset, no. 11, October 2000, p. 144.
Although data by sector was not available for 2000-2001, the average number of teaching hours per student, Jewish and Palestinian Arab, was virtually unchanged from 1999-2000.153 In 2000-2001, 22.2 percent of kindergarten through secondary level students were Palestinian Arab.
The Committee for Closing the Gap, a division of the Education Ministry's Pedagogical Secretariat that was created primarily to examine gaps within the Jewish sector, also estimated total resource allocation in 1999-2000 to Jewish and Arab primary education. Using internal ministry sources, the Committee looked specifically at the Northern District, which contains approximately equal numbers of Jewish and Palestinian Arab students, and found that the ministry distributed teaching hours as follows:
Source: Daphna Golan, Chair, Committee for Closing the Gap, Pedagogical Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Closing the Gaps in Arab Education in Israel: Data About Hebrew-Arab Education; Recommendations of the Committee for Closing the Gap; Protocol of the Meeting of the Directorship, December 13, 2000, December 2000, p. 2 (citing data from the acting chief executive of the Northern District).
Although the above data are averages and thus allow for significant variation among individual schools, they are generally in accord with what the schools Human Rights Watch visited told us they received. For example, the principal of a primary school in Um El-Fahm with 360 children told us that the Ministry of Education gave the school 582 teaching hours per week, an average of 1.35 hours per child.154
At every grade level, Arab schools' classes are, on average, larger than Jewish schools' classes.
Table 9: Average Number of Pupils Per Class 1998-1999 [update]
Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, table 22.9.
In 1998-1999, the most recent year for which data were available, there were an average of twenty-six students per class in Jewish schools and thirty students per class in Arab schools. Classes for Negev Bedouin were, on average, even larger, averaging thirty-three students per class at the primary and intermediate levels, and twenty-nine students per class at the secondary level.155 A primary school teacher who had taught for the past four and a half years in the Negev told us that her classes averaged forty students every year.156
Although the highest national average for any grade level in 1998-1999 was thirty-three students per class, many teachers we interviewed in both Jewish and Arab schools reported having thirty to forty students in their classes. For example, an eleven-year-old Palestinian Arab boy told us his class had forty-three students.157 We visited a third grade science class in an Arab school in a mixed city with thirty-nine students and a first grade class in an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev with forty-six students. "In some classes we have thirty-nine," an eleventh-grade Palestinian Arab girl in Nazareth told us.158 The principal of a Jewish middle school in a development town told us that the classes in her school were as large as forty,159 and the principal of a Jewish primary school told us about thirty-eight students were in her school's classes.160 We also saw classes with fewer than thirty-one students. Several school principals told us that the Education Ministry capped primary classrooms at forty students.
The Ministry of Education also allocates more total teaching staff per child to Jewish schools than it does to Arab schools, particularly at lower grade levels.
Sources: Ministry of Education, Proposed Budget for the Ministry of Education 2001 and Explanations as Presented to the Fifteenth Knesset, no. 11, October 2000, p. 144; and CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, tables 22.10, 22.27.
For example, in 1999-2000 the Ministry of Education allocated the equivalent of one full-time teacher for every 16.6 children in Jewish primary schools and every 19.4 children in Arab primary schools. In kindergartens, the number of children per full-time teacher (or teacher's aide) was twice as high in Arab kindergartens (39.3 students per teacher) as in Jewish kindergartens (19.8 students per teacher). Human Rights Watch visited schools that averaged both somewhat more and somewhat fewer children per teacher.162
Class size affects the quality of education provided.163 "It's a problem for me," a Palestinian Arab English teacher with around forty students explained. "The students should have the chance to share and talk and express themselves."164
Most Arab school principals whom we interviewed told us that they believed that their schools received the same budget for teaching and related expenses as Jewish schools. However, at the primary level, these funds are allocated by class,165 and, on average, classes in Jewish schools are smaller than those in Arab schools. Thus, for all funds allocated equally by class, each Palestinian Arab child receives less on average than each Jewish child receives. Moreover, there are more teachers (of all kinds) per child in Jewish schools at every grade level. In that teachers themselves are a critical resource, Palestinian Arab students at every level receive less, on average, because their classes are larger.
The greatest differences in funding to Arab and Jewish schools lie in funding for enrichment and remedial programs. These programs are allocated on the basis of criteria that is weighted against Arab schools and implemented in ways that discriminate against them. Legal challenges to these practices have not been successful.
Supplementary programs--both enrichment and remedial--form an integral part of everyday education in Israeli schools. "Because we have the money, we can do what we are doing," Judith Jona, the principal of an "very good" Jewish primary school, told Human Rights Watch when she described the school's innovative programs.166 Very little of this money comes from the municipality, which primarily pays for maintenance and utilities, she said. Most supplementary funding comes from the Ministry of Education. However, other government ministries fund particular programs that appear to benefit primarily Jewish education. For example, the Ministry of Housing builds kindergartens in new Jewish communities, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption gives educational assistance to new immigrants, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs contributes to Jewish religious schools.167 Local authorities and parents also fund programs in some schools.
The government concedes that Arab schools generally receive less government funding than Jewish schools do. In February 2001, it reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child: "The gaps in government allocation are mainly a result of more limited allocation to enrichment and extracurricular activities such as libraries, programs for weaker students, cultural activities, and counseling and support services."168
Although the Ministry of Education does not release total expenditures by sector, the differences are evident in individual programs. For example, while enrichment for gifted children include both supplements to the regular curricula and special boarding schools, there are no boarding schools for gifted Palestinian Arab students. Moreover, according to the government's report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, "associations and programs for gifted children" were only recently approved for Arab education.169 The principal of a primary school in the Triangle region explained to Human Rights Watch how difficult it was for him to get enrichment for talented students:
Regarding remedial programs, a study by professors at Hebrew University found that Arab primary schools received 18 percent of the ministry's remedial education budget and that Arab intermediate schools received 19 percent, but that per student, Jewish students received five times the amount that Palestinian Arab students received.171There is a boy in the school who is a genius in computers, and I asked the ministry to send him to a special school for Arabs in Israel. I waited for the reply. Every time I asked about it I was told that there wasn't any money and that he would have to wait. It was always the same. Now the boy graduated from here and is in the eighth grade in Haifa.170
Although supplementary programs play an important role in all schools, the Israeli government distributes considerable resources on the basis of need and employs various indices to measure that need, such as priority area classifications and the Ministry of Education's index of educational disadvantage. This is true not only for education funding but also for many other government benefits such as transfers to local governments for development and infrastructure, which benefit schools indirectly by freeing up additional municipal monies for education.
Both the instruments purporting to measure need, as well as the implementation of need-based funding, heavily favor Jewish communities over Palestinian Arab ones. Thus, despite their greatest need, Palestinian Arabs are not receiving a share of these programs that is even proportionate to their representation in the population.
The best available measurement of general need appears to be the Central Bureau of Statistic's socio-economic scale. Sociological studies have found that a locality's socio-economic ranking clearly affects its residents' access to educational credentials in Israel.172 The Central Bureau of Statistics ranks communities on the basis of socio-economic characteristics measured in the 1995 census and adapted in 1999 (the most recent adaptation at the time of writing).173 The communities are then divided into ten clusters, with one being the lowest and ten the highest. According to the scale, Palestinian Arab communities are the poorest in Israel. In 1999, seventy-three out of the seventy-five ranked Palestinian Arab localities fell in the bottom four clusters, and no Palestinian Arab localities were ranked in the top four clusters.174 Jewish communal localities--kibbutzim and moshavim--and unrecognized (Arab) villages are not ranked.175 Thus, even the best scale is not comprehensive and, indeed, excludes the poorest communities in Israel-the unrecognized villages.
In any event, the government generally uses a different criteria to allocate education-related subsidies and tax benefits. For example, in areas the government classifies as "national priority areas," teachers receive an extra stipend for travel and living expenses, four-year tenure, and exemption from workers' compensation contributions. The Ministry of Education also subsidizes kindergarten tuition, and residents may be eligible for loans or grants for higher education.176 Priority areas with the highest level of classification are targets for implementation of the Long School Day Law, which funds additional informal teaching and extra-curricular activities to compensate for what wealthier parents and municipalities provide.177 The law has never been fully implemented.178
Historically, only Jewish localities were designated as priority areas. Although a few Palestinian Arab localities have since been added to the list, most are at a level that does not qualify them to receive education benefits. In May 1998, Adalah (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel), the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Affairs, and the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education sued the government on the grounds that the current designation of priority areas discriminates against Palestinian Arab towns and asked that clear criteria be set for selection.179 The case was still pending at the time of writing.
In addition to criteria used throughout the government, such as national priority areas, the Ministry of Education has developed its own "index of educational disadvantage" that it uses to allocate resources to primary and intermediate schools to improve performance and decrease dropping out.180 The ministry applies two different standards to Arab and Jewish schools and ranks them separately. The Central Bureau of Statistics, in a 1994-1995 survey of primary and intermediate schools, explained:
In other words, rather than comparing all schools against a common standard, the ministry compares Arab schools with other Arab schools and Jewish schools with other Jewish schools, but does not compare Arab schools with Jewish schools. Schools are then divided into five groups, from one--the least disadvantaged--to five--the most disadvantaged.The index of educational disadvantage was prepared by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for the purpose of differential allotment of resources to the schools, to advance weak populations. The index is determined by criteria which measure the degree of educational deprivation of each school relative to the other schools. Since the schools in different sectors [Jewish and Arab] differ from one another in regard to the significant causes of such deprivation, separate indices of educational disadvantage were determined for the different groups.181
Table 11: Index of Educational Disadvantage-the Ministry of Education's Categorization of Primary and Intermediate Pupils and Schools 1994-1995182
Source: CBS, Survey of Education and Welfare Services 1994/1995: Primary and Intermediate Schools, Hebrew and Arab Education (Jerusalem: CBS, October 1997).
As the above tables show, this index distributes both Jewish and Arab schools and Jewish and Palestinian Arab pupils into quintiles: there are roughly the same number of schools and pupils at every level. This distribution shows that the need of pupils in Arab schools is being assessed in isolation from Jewish schools. The same index of educational disadvantage was still being employed in 2001.183
Given that the Arab schools by every measurement are more disadvantaged than Jewish schools, comparing the two sectors separately is a highly misleading indicator of the resources of Arab schools. Arab schools that rank at the top of the index may well fall at the middle or bottom when compared with Jewish schools. Therefore, an Arab school that would qualify for resources if compared with Jewish schools may receive less or nothing because other Arab schools are even worse off.184
Regardless of whether the ministry's index accurately measures need, Arab schools still get fewer resources than equally ranked Jewish schools. In the 1994-1995 school year, the Central Bureau of Statistics surveyed the recognized and official Arab and Jewish state primary and intermediate schools (with the exception of kibbutz schools) on the provision of education and welfare services, and found that Arab schools receive fewer services and facilities than Jewish schools in every one of the categories assessed:
Source: CBS, Survey of Education and Welfare Services 1994/1995: Primary and Intermediate Schools, Hebrew and Arab Education (Jerusalem: CBS, October 1997).
At every economic level, more Jewish schools had support services than Arab schools. For example, of schools categorized as most disadvantaged, almost all (93.6 percent) of Jewish schools offered psychological counseling to their students, while less than one-third (31.1 percent) of the Arab schools had these services. The Israeli government, in its 2001 submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, conceded that despite the index of disadvantage for Palestinian Arabs, which is intended to make it "easier to aptly allocate resources to schools in the Arab sector, so as to cultivate weak populations . . . the distribution of hours and budgets per schools is not equal in the two sectors, and does not take into consideration the existing gaps between the two sectors."185
In addition to funds allocated by the index of educational disadvantage, some funding by definition goes only to Jewish students. For example, new immigrants, who are almost entirely Jewish, receive extra educational programs. The principal of a Jewish middle school told Human Rights Watch that the school received extra funding for students who immigrated less than two years ago.186 And until 1994, children the ministry categorized as "in need of special care" (talmid taun tipauch) were, by definition, Jewish, and eligible for extra educational resources. In 1994, the definition was changed so that Palestinian Arabs would be eligible. However, the budget was cut at the same time, and Palestinian Arab children consequently saw little benefit.187
Considerable discretion on the part of those who administer the programs, combined with a lack of adequate Palestinian Arab representation in their administration, results in some programs never reaching Arab schools. For example, the Ministry of Education, through its Youth and Society Administration, funds what it calls "informal education": programs in both schools and public agencies such as community centers that include a weekly homeroom hour, student councils, and social programs aimed, for example, at preventing drug use, teaching leadership and decision-making skills, and instilling particular values.
Tali Yariv-Mashal, who headed a leadership program in the division from 1996 to 1999, explained how the programs worked. She supervised seven teachers, one of whom was Palestinian Arab. Some of these teachers taught in schools part-time and worked for the program part-time; others worked for more than one program. The six Jewish teachers were each assigned to a district where they supervised the teachers who actually distributed the programs in schools. "The program supervisors have discretion about where to teach. It depends on their relationships with the schools, and they are very free to decide," Yariv-Mashal noted.188
In contrast, one Palestinian Arab teacher was responsible for providing the programs to Arab schools throughout the country. Yariv-Mashal explained: "The one Arab supervisor had two days for the whole country. So the only kids that got anything were at his kids' school. . . . This is how the whole Arab system works-people are not assigned by district, versus in the Jewish system where the ministry has inspectors by districts."190 In areas that the Palestinian Arab teacher was unable to cover, Arab schools received the programs at the discretion of Jewish teachers assigned to their district.The good teachers distribute money to everyone. Others may say, "I'm not going [to the Arab schools]. I don't understand them, and they don't understand me." They sometimes claimed that the Arab schools are the Arab teacher's responsibility-"that's what he's here for." That's where is stops. Many Arab schools don't even know about the programs that are available. The money is distributed politically, not top down but through a flat political network. You're either in or you're out.189
Yariv-Mashal also noted that the programs themselves were not adapted in any way for Palestinian Arab students. Some of the Jewish teachers who administered the programs stopped offering them to Arab schools after Palestinian Arab teachers objected to some of the content, she said.191
Indeed, the government reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2001 that informal education programs are implemented in the Arab sector "to a limited extent," and that "the majority of [the programs] are not as prevalent as they are in the Jewish sector."192 For example, in 1997 only 5 percent of children in youth promotion units--a program for "youth at risk" run by the Youth and Society Administration's Youth Advancement Department--were Palestinian Arab.193 According to the Israeli government, "it has been difficult to implement programs in Arab schools and local authorities because of the requirement that parents and local authorities help finance them, and because school and local staff are not always forthcoming about generating dialogue with parents. Nevertheless, some schools have succeeded in enlisting the cooperation of parents and involving them in school life."194
Daphna Golan, chair of the Committee for
Closing the Gap in the Education Ministry's Pedagogical Secretariat, also
observed that Palestinian Arabs' lack of representation in the Education
Ministry keeps Arab schools from gaining access to education programs that
are administered on a discretionary basis.195
Households financed 6 percent of total national expenditures on primary education in 1996, and 22 percent of expenditures on post-primary education.207 These figures exclude general administrative costs, of which local authorities financed 29 percent and the central government financed 71 percent, and "investments and capital transfers."208 Parental funding, as well as extra monies local authorities give schools, contribute to the gap between schools in high and middle income areas and schools in low income areas.We give the bread. The butter and the cheese is up to the local authorities who have to get money for people. If they are impoverished, they give the children only the bread. The bread is more than 90 percent of the budget. So maybe they get bread and margarine.
Parental funding of regular and after-school education, which in Israel is called "gray education," is much more than an after-school trumpet lesson. The State Education Law allows parent financing to increase regular school hours up to 25 percent, if 75 percent of parents in the schools request it.209 These funds reduce class size, add hours in particular subjects, improve school infrastructure, and pay for after-school classes and activities. The nongovernmental Adva Center has documented the effect of gray education on students' performance:
The Israeli government has acknowledged that gray education "increases the social inequality among population groups."211The crafters of the education budget overlook the fact that, in the absence of sufficient state funding, private money ("gray education") becomes a main player in determining the quality of education that schools provide. Schools that offer "gray education" provide a more extensive and, sometimes, a more intensive curriculum than schools in which parents can not afford to contribute. In high schools where parent co-payments in 1999 ranged from NIS 287 to NIS 2,657 [$71.75 to $664.25] per year (i.e., within the range recommended by the Education Ministry), 57 percent of students succeeded in passing their matriculation exams. In schools where co-payments ranged from NIS 1,269 to NIS 6,070 [$317.25 to $1,517.50], the proportion of matriculation-certificate eligibles was 87 percent.210
Jewish households on average spend more on education than Palestinian Arab households,212 and Arab schools, on the whole, collect less money from parents than do Jewish schools. For example, the principal of a primary school in Um El-Fahm told us that the schools asked for NIS 70 to NIS 80 ($17.50 to $20.00) per student that year.213 This money covered security, trips, library books, insurance, and other educational activities, he explained. The school also had an active parents' committee that had raised NIS 131,000 ($32,750.00) for the year.214 A Jewish middle school in Nazareth Ilit charged parents NIS 1,300 ($325) a year to pay for books, field trips, safety guards, a health supervisor, and extra activities.215 A Palestinian Arab mother and English teacher told Human Rights Watch: "My daughter and son in the high school pay NIS1,500 ($375) for the psychometric exam course [a class to prepare for the exam]. If they don't pay, they can't take the course. My daughter told me that many good pupils can't pay. I make sacrifices so that I can pay."216
Local authorities generally must pay for maintaining school buildings, furniture, and administrative staff.217 For example, Human Rights Watch visited an Arab primary school in a village in the Triangle region that received NIS 6,920 ($1,730) a month (NIS 20 ($5) per child) as well as furniture from the local municipality.218 In addition to the small amount of schools' regular budgets that they are responsible for, some local governments provide additional funding that covers many of the same kinds of things that parents sometimes pay for.
As indicated by the Central Bureau of Statistic's socio-economic scale, Palestinian Arab communities tend to be the poorest in Israel. Compared with Jewish localities, they lack an industrial tax base and depend more heavily on residential property taxes. They also receive less money generally from the central government:
Accordingly, Palestinian Arab localities must use money that other communities might spend on education for infrastructure and other development expenses.220In 1999, the total regular budget for all Arab local authorities was NIS 2.2 billion [$550 million], only 8% of the regular budget for local authorities in Israel, which totaled NIS 26 billion [$6.5 billion]. Notably, Arab local authorities supply services to around 12% of the entire population. The per capita expense earmarked for residents of Arab authorities in the regular budget thus comprises only two-thirds of the per capita expense for residents of Jewish local authorities.219
Parents are, of course, free to finance additional education for their children. However, the Ministry of Education contributes to the gaps between Arab and Jewish schools that funds from parents and local authorities create by: 1) subsidizing gray education through school infrastructure and matching funds; 2) contributing unequally to Jewish and Palestinian Arab parents' organizations; and 3) failing to distribute compensatory programs equally.
First, the ministry indirectly subsidizes parent-funded education through its infrastructure, since supplementary education takes place on school grounds and, often, during school hours. It also subsidizes supplementary education directly through matching funds. According to Israel's 2001 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child:
Second, although parents' organizations often organize and implement gray education, the ministry funds almost no Palestinian Arab parents' organizations. Daphna Golan, chair of the Committee for Closing the Gap in the ministry's Pedagogical Secretariat, explained: "The Education Ministry gives about NIS 1.3 billion ($325 million) to nongovernmental organizations, most notably, parents' committees, each year. The nongovernmental organizations use this money for projects like after-school education, either at schools or at local community centers. Of this amount, about 1.5 percent goes to Palestinian Arab organizations."222The more limited investment by local authorities and parents can be ascribed to the dire financial state of the Arab local authorities, as well as to the higher level of poverty among Arab families. It is important to note that in many cases, allocation of government funding for extracurricular activities, special programs and support services is dependent on matching funds provided by the local authority and parents. As such funds are not available in the Arab local authorities, services of this type are often not implemented in the Arab education system.221
While acknowledging the gaps that locally-funded
education creates, the government argues that its supplementary programs,
including the Long School Day Law, educational disadvantage index, truant
officers, and support services such as counseling and other programs, counteract
the gaps created by gray education. However, it also admits that these
are not provided equally to Palestinian Arabs.223
132 Surie Ackerman, "The Cost of `Free Education,'" Jerusalem Post, August 30, 1991. See Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Facts About Israel: Education," (stating that the "government finances 72 percent of education, while the rest comes from local authorities and other sources"). In 1996, the latest year for which the Central Bureau of Statistics published data, the government financed 73 percent of the total national expenditure on education, local authorities financed 7 percent, and households financed 20 percent. However, this data includes post-secondary and higher education, in which non-government financing plays a larger role. CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, table 22.5.
138 The October 2000 plan promised funds for classroom construction, teaching programs, and inaugurating curricular programs in technology. "Multiannual Plan for Development of Arab Sector Localities," Government Resolution 2476, cited in Shlomo Swirski, et al., Looking at the Budget of the State of Israel 2001, Adva Center, November 2000.
139 See Ministry of Education, Proposed Budget for the Ministry of Education 2001 and Explanations as Presented to the Fifteenth Knesset, no. 11, October 2000; and Swirski, Looking at the Budget of the State of Israel 2001.
140 For additional information, see Wadi'a Awauda, "Five-Year Plan for Improving Arab Education: How It's Holding Up in Reality," Sikkuy's Report on Equality and Integration of the Arab Citizens in Israel 2000-2001, Spring 2001.
141 Adva Center, "Education Ministry Privatizes Arab-Sector Five-Year Plan," August 2000. See also Swirski, Looking at the Budget of the State of Israel 2001 (stating that the supplemental allocation for education in the 2001 budget does not improve schools but only reinforces "prospective graduates at the eleventh hour before their matriculation exams. These programs, however worthy they may be, cannot be expected to cope with education disparities between working-class neighborhoods, development towns, and Arab localities, on the one hand, and affluent localities, on the other hand. Furthermore, the budget proposal does nothing to confront the large inter-school disparities in financial and human resources.").
146 General Comment 13, The Right to Education, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 21st sess., U.N. Doc. E/C.12/1999/10 (December 8, 1999), para. 37. The committees established by human rights treaties-including the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Human Rights Committee-issue General Comments that are not addressed to any particular government. These bodies use the General Comments to interpret and clarify the treaties' meaning and content. The General Comments are also a useful means of establishing jurisprudence and are agreed by consensus by the members of the monitoring bodies.
151 At the primary level, the data reflect financing from the Ministry of Education only. CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, p. (104). At the intermediate and secondary levels, the data reflect funding from parents and local authorities in addition to ministry funding. Yosef Gidanian, Central Bureau of Statistics, e-mail to Human Rights Watch, June 18, 2001.
153 In 1999-2000, the average teaching hours per student in primary, intermediate, and secondary education were, respectively, 1.75, 1.71, and 2.17. In 2000-2001, the average teaching hours were 1.75, 1.72, and 2.16. Ministry of Education, Proposed Budget for the Ministry of Education 2001, pp. 157, 168, 179.
161 The number of teachers is measured in work units-the number of hours per week that constitute a full teaching post. Thus, two half-time positions would be counted as one full-time position. Work hours include "teaching hours, administration hours, hours of educational guidance and other tasks at school." CBS, "Introduction to `Education and Culture,'" Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, p. (104). When actual teaching posts for primary through secondary grades, regardless of the number of hours taught, were measured, there were 109,511 posts in Jewish education, 84.1 percent of all teaching posts, and 20,772 posts in Arab education, 16.9 percent of all teaching posts. These numbers exclude teaching posts in primary schools financed by local educational authorities and parents. Ibid., p. (104) and table 22.8.
162 For example, Human Rights Watch visited an Arab secondary school in the Triangle region with one hundred teachers for 1,200 students, an average of twelve students per teacher, slightly higher than the national average for Arab secondary schools. The students were divided into forty classes, averaging thirty students per class, again slightly higher than the national average. Human Rights Watch interview with school principal, village in the Triangle region, December 6, 2000. We visited an Arab primary school in the Triangle region with 465 students and twenty-three teachers, an average of 20.2 students per teacher, and another primary school in the region with 346 students and twenty-two teachers, an overall of 15.7 students per teacher. Human Rights Watch interviews with school principals, villages in the Triangle region, December 6, 2000. We visited an Arab primary school in Nazareth with 630 students and thirty-five teachers, an average of eighteen students per teacher, slightly lower than the national average for Arab primary schools. Human Rights Watch interview with school principal, Nazareth, December 7, 2000.
163 For example, the Tennessee Student Teacher Achievement Ratio ("STAR") project, a four-year longitudinal study begun in 1985, found a significant causal relationship between reducing class size and improving student achievement, especially for at-risk students. Elizabeth Word, et al., "The State of Tennessee's Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) Project: Final Summary Report 1985-1990."
166 Human Rights Watch interview with Judith Jona, Haifa, December 12, 2000. Yael Yakobi, the Chief Inspector of the District of Haifa for the Ministry of Education, categorized the school as "very good." Human Rights Watch interview with Yael Yakobi, Chief Inspector of the District of Haifa, Ministry of Education, December 7, 2000.
169 Ibid., p. 280. The government reported to the Human Rights Committee that in 1996, 1,655 schoolchildren participated in a program for gifted Palestinian Arab students. U.N. Human Rights Committee, Initial Report of States Parties Due in 1993: Israel, para. 885(n).
171 According to the study, the average Jewish student in need of remedial education received 0.2 hours per week of additional class time, while Palestinian Arab students received 0.04 hours per week. Kahen and Yeleneck, Hebrew University, "Discrimination Against the Non-Jewish Sector in the Allocation of Resources for Educational Development (Hebrew)."
172 Mazawi, "Region, Locality Characteristics, High School Tracking and Equality in Access to Educational Credentials," p. 236. See Andre Elias Mazawi, "Concentrated Disadvantage and Access to Educational Credentials in Arab and Jewish Localities in Israel," British Educational Research Journal, vol. 25, no. 3, 1999.
173 The socio-economic characteristics measured include: demography, standard of living, schooling and education, employment and unemployment, and receipt of public benefits. CBS, "Introduction (English)," Characterization and Ranking of Local Authorities, according to the Population's Socio-Economic Level in 1999.
176 See Mossawa and the Adva Center, Status of National Priority in the Area of Education: Arab Settlements, Development Towns, and Jewish Settlements, Analysis of the Priority Area Map of the Office of the Prime Minister from 1998 and the Data of the Ministry of Education from 1997, February 1999; David Kretzmer, The Legal Status of the Arabs in Israel (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990), pp. 112-113.
177 In 1990, the first year of the Long School Day Law's implementation, only six of the 564 schools chosen for the program were Arab. Suit was brought against the Ministry of Education on the grounds that this policy was discriminatory. The High Court of Justice held that educational support to development towns meets national needs; therefore the government's policy of providing benefits only to these towns was a legitimate distinction and not discriminatory. Agbaria v. The Minister of Education, 45 P.D. 222 (1990). The government then renewed the program and the petitioners refiled. The Court again dismissed the case. Agbaria v. The Minister of Education, 45(5) P.D. 742 (1991).
181 CBS, Survey of Education and Welfare Services 1994/1995: Primary and Intermediate Schools, Hebrew and Arab Education (Jerusalem: CBS, October 1997), p. XIX (emphasis in original). The index of educational disadvantage for Jewish education weighs the "proportion of low-income families, proportion of poorly-educated parents, proportion of large families, proportion of new immigrants, and peripheriality [sic] (distance from the three major cities)." The index for Arab education weighs the "proportion of low-income families, proportion of poorly-educated parents, proportion of large families, proportion of families living in `unrecognized' localities, school in a mixed town (a town with both Jewish and Arab population) and a school in a small settlement." Ibid. Although the Central Bureau of Statistics justifies comparing Jewish and Arab schools separately on the grounds that certain criterion are unique to each sector, a different criteria could be developed using common measurements of need.
182 The index does not include Jewish kibbutz schools, for which a different index of educational disadvantage was applied, nor does it include either Jewish or Arab recognized but unofficial schools.
The allocation of the [Ministry of Education's] special care [tipuach] basket is decided in two stages. In the first stage, the basket is divided into four sub-sectors: Arab, Druze, Jewish (official) and Jewish (non-official). In the second stage, the basket for each sub-sector is divided between schools (after a deduction of 10 percent toward a district fund).Kahen and Yeleneck, Hebrew University, "Discrimination Against the Non-Jewish Sector in the Allocation of Resources for Educational Development (Hebrew)" (translation by Human Rights Watch).
[T]he entire apparatus of restorative, remedial, and compensatory education was developed for Mizrahi schoolchildren, to the exclusion of Arab children. Only in 1994 did Arab pupils become eligible for "remedial hours" established in the 1960s for Mizrahim . . . . To both Mizrahim and Arabs, these allocations were construed as a sign of the privileged position of Mizrahim via-à-vis the Arabs. But the privilege carried a heavy price: the collective labeling of Mizrahim as educational failures and as the intellectual inferiors of Ashkenazim. . . . Israeli Palestinians have escaped this fate, but at the cost of exclusion from state projects and state funds.Ibid., p. 164
196 Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, presented to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights November 1998, p. 91.
197 Press release of the Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education, 1998, cited in Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, p. 91.
199 Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education, et. al. v. The Ministry of Education, et. al, ("The Shahar Case"), H.C. 2814/97 (2000), para. 1, (English translation by Adalah, http://www.adalah.org/supreme.html#2 (accessed on June 23, 2001)).
208 Ibid. Of financing of investments and capital transfers, which includes financing post-secondary and higher education institutions, households financed 12 percent, non-governmental nonprofit organizations financed 2 percent, government non-profit organizations financed 13 percent, local authorities financed 30 percent, and the central government financed 43 percent. Ibid.
210 Swirski, Looking at the Budget of the State of Israel 2001 (critique of proposed 2001 Budget) (citing Yossi Gidinian, Central Bureau of Statistics, October 8, 2000). For more information about gray education, see, Swirski, Politics and Education in Israel, pp. 228-229.
212 CBS, Education and Educational Resources 1990-1996, no. 99/164, July 26, 1999, cited in Measure for Measure: An Accounting of Equality in Israel (Hebrew), ed. Naama Yeshuvi, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), January 2000, p. 62.
219 As'ad Ghanem, Thabet Abu-Ras, Ze'ev Rosenhek, "Local Authorities, Welfare and Community," in After the Rift: New Directions for Government Policy towards the Arab Population in Israel, eds. Dan Rabinowitz, As'ad Ghanem, Oren Yiftachel, November 2000, p. 27-28. See also Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, p. 32-33 (stating that ordinary budgets of Arab communities are 60 percent of those of comparable Jewish communities).
220 For examples of a lack of infrastructure in Palestinian Arab communities compared with Jewish communities, see Shalom (Shuli) Dichter, "The Government's Plan for Development in the Arab Localities," Sikkuy's Report on Equality and Integration of the Arab Citizens in Israel 2000-2001, Spring 2001.