The Israeli state run school system (secular) is simply awful. There's violence, crowded classrooms, "student rights" have left teachers toothless and frightened, teacher salaries are ridiculously low, the requirements for becoming a teacher are practically non-existent, schools are as technical and dry as can be, and grades have been steadily declining for some years now. After polling some friends, I can say that none of them, including myself feels they took any "values" from 12 years of schooling. If there happened to be an influential teacher- it was his personal contribution, but nothing engrained in the system. For me, it was a good home that made me a thinking moral person- I give the school system no credit in this.

On the other hand, the religious school system in Israel, also state funded, suffers from the same budgetary and classroom density problem- and while violence is present in the religious sector, the statistics are far lower.

This has become a major proselytizing point in Israel- the claim that the secular system is completely bankrupt and produces "criminals", while religion, be it true or false, creates decent human beings.

I believe the only thing I have to hold on to when countering this argument is that while the Israeli secular education system is indeed awful, many countries around the world run secular education systems which produce moral, educated thinking human beings – like Sweden, Switzerland and others.

I'd like your thoughts on the subject, and if you could possibly pinpoint what is it in a school system that produces smart, thinking and above all moral and decent human beings. Please don't answer with - "it's the parent's job" – that's a different discussion.

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In Canada and USA, behavioural/attitude problems are generally less of a problem in religious schools than in secular schools. Religious people have a wider spectrum of "illegal" behaviours which seems to have a taming effect on kids, because they are so strictly enforced.


The question is, do we really want tamer kids??

i'm not talking about supresing independent thought. i'm talking about kids hitting teachers, 10 year old's raping each other, physical violence, classrooms as war zones... the education system here has fallen to impressive lows.

Yes... so... we have those in Canada and USA. I don't know the Israeli K-12 system, yes quite possibly it's worse than here, but let me tell you things are pretty messed up here too. The religious tend to keep a very uppity discipline in their classrooms, which secular institutions frown upon. One of my best girlfriends 10 y/o son steals, bullies, fights. His behaviour was getting seriously worse so she switched him to a 'nominally' religious school and things have been kept slightly more under control, but the damage was done.


I think children's behaviour is equally the result of parenting and schooling. After, the number of quality hours spent in both contexts is nearly equal. My best friend has been a Buddhist for nearly a decade and believes her son is an angel and beyond reproach and the school teachers should "know" how to handle any student. I think the religious schools are better at compensating for bad parenting. But at the cost of creating "status quo" "tamed" little humans.


I don't know the solution. I think a secular school system which functions outside of an "absolute" value system, by default requires firmer parenting. I know you don't like that answer. And of course my best friend's lack of parenting is but an anecdote...


Another obstacle to peaceful classrooms is our PC policy of complete integration of under-performing students with mental disorders such as FAS and FAE (very common in Northern Canada, where I've worked in K-12 classes) and the refusal to have students fail grades. When I was growing up, disrupting students were kept in "special classes". I see that kind of segregation as beneficial, in a limited and controlled setting.




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