The traditional approach to reducing social inequalities in education in Israel has been to focus on low performing students reaching the basic standards of the matriculation. The foundation’s Advisory Council however, recommended a different approach, which is to concentrate on the second tier of students and cultivate their efforts to excel. This approach relies on a premise that Israel can harness its relative advantage in mathematics and science excellence to address its most serious challenge, that of reducing social inequalities.One of the foundation’s veteran partners that specializes in bringing excellence to the social periphery is Teach First Israel (TFI), which recruits and trains highly talented individuals to serve as teachers in high need areas. So far, the program (which is supported by the Trump Foundation) has placed 700 teachers in 6 years, of which 170 are mathematics and science teachers. TFI teachers are driven and passionate, and in many cases they relocate to reside in development towns, where their work is highly appreciated by their colleagues and the school principals.
In consultation with TFI, we believe that a media program could help us create public support for this unique task. Documenting and exposing the stories of TFI teachers and the impact they are having in their schools, could be a powerful vehicle for showing how the pursuit of excellence in mathematics and the sciences can help pave the way to closing gaps in achievement and creating equal opportunities for all students.
In order to expose these stories to the public, TFI is proposing to create a partnership with the newspaper Yediyot Aharonot, the largest print media outlet in Israel, and their corresponding news website Ynet. TFI will provide content in order to build a series of articles and features around the newspaper’s annual conference, which is dedicated this year to education. They will employ a media-coordinator to assemble a pool of 30 stories of excellent teachers working in the social periphery, of which 8 will be chosen for Yediyot to publish, in both print and digital media. At the conference, which Yediyot will broadcast online to a large audience, TFI will host a discussion panel and will provide a keynote speaker.
* The text above shows the grant as approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors / Grant 232