TEL AVIV (Oct. 6)
The newly instituted junior high school opened in Rishon LeZion this week after a month’s delay due to strenuous objections by local parents to the educational reform aimed, among other things, at integrating pupils of Ashkenazic and Sephardic backgrounds.
Education Minister Zevulun Hammer ruled last week that the reform would be implemented in Rishon Le Zion, south of Tel Aviv. It has been operating smoothly in the rest of the country since the school year began a month ago.
Most pupils reported to their classes this week which cover the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. But some parents held out, sending their youngsters to primary schools which now end with the sixth grade. Teachers, including many who oppose the reform, obeyed the Ministry’s orders and did not report to those schools.
Although not mentioned publicly, the dispute centers around the busing of children which is required because junior high schools draw their student bodies from larger areas than the local primary schools. This means that children of Oriental background and lower economic status will share classes with those of Western families who are generally more affluent.
The Attorney General has ruled that legal action could be taken against parents who refuse to conform to the new system.