Access to Opportunity
Many students say that quality teaching made all the difference for them and note that their attraction to a particular subject can be largely attributed to an outstanding teacher. Indeed, there are excellent mathematics and science teachers in Israeli schools. However, a substantial number of teachers are now approaching retirement age, and consequently, there is a severe shortage reflected in the closing of study tracks and assignment of unsuitable teachers from the school teaching staff. This is an enormous challenge, but also a great opportunity.
There is a need to help the education system develop its next generation of mathematics and science teachers. This is an opportunity to make sure that these new teachers are excellent and that they receive the best training and coaching, so that they can adapt their teaching to the needs of all students, no matter their background, gender or socio-economic level.
The building of this teaching generation is a ten-year process whose scope is a function of the prospective growth in the number of students.
Providing Access to Underrepresented Communities
The potential for excellence is found throughout Israel – it is not limited to a certain region, community or gender. Therefore, our efforts are “color-blind”, as we strive to make quality teaching accessible to every type of student. However, as the foundation deepens its activities, we have found that the differences between communities and groups in Israeli society reveal that a uniform solution is not in all cases appropriate for all.
We have found that different communities and groups have different methods of coping with the challenge of excellence. For example, fewer female students choose to study physics and computer science; in the national religious sector, fewer students study chemistry; in Arab schools, clinical teaching has unique barriers; and in ultra-Orthodox schools, mathematics and science studies are particularly sensitive. For this reason, an in-depth study of each community led us to prepare special programs, so far on a small scale. In cases in which we will identify significant potential for excellence among these groups, we will attempt to increase our efforts with them.