Status of Teachers

Over the years, government budget cuts have taken their toll. Israel was amongst the top-ranked nations in international rankings for science and mathematics performance in the 1960s, but dropped to 33 out of 41 nations in the 2002 survey. Wages for Israeli teachers are low compared to other industrialized countries, especially due to the small amount of frontal teaching hours with respect to other developed countries (the salary per hour is similar to that of the OECD standards), according to a survey of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The government-appointed Dovrat Commission, led by Shlomo Dovrat, concluded in 2004, that the key to improving Israeli education is not more money but better-quality teaching. The recommendations included a reform giving school principals the right to fire teachers of poor quality, and reward better ones with higher pay. These moves have been blocked by Israel's teachers' unions, which have paralyzed schools with a series of long strikes, mostly blocking the proposed reforms.