literary evening on the occasion of the publication of Yossi Dahan’s book.
Since the 1990s, the education system in Israel has undergone a fundamental change, spearheaded by two seemingly conflicting forces: One is the increasing influence of neoliberal thought, with its emphasis on efficiency, productivity, choice, and competition. The other is the unprecedented boom in the rhetoric concerning equality of opportunity and the calls for diversity and multiculturalism. This trend is manifested, for example, in the various magnet schools, which were established on the basis of claims to educational pluralism and multiculturalism but make extensive use of mechanisms of privatization and selection.
Justice, Privatization and the Objectives of the Educational System provides a critical analysis of three disagreements that engage education systems in all democratic countries, including Israel: the disagreement over distributive justice, manifested in the disparity in academic achievement on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, gender, and class; the disagreement over the state’s responsibility and the inherent tension between morality and efficiency generated by privatization processes; and the disagreement over the objectives of education and the desired character of the school, including curricula, teaching methods, and teachers. Combining a normative analysis using philosophical tools with an empirical analysis using tools drawn from economics, culture, and politics, the book paints a broad and detailed picture, the first of its kind, of the education system in Israel and the context in which it operates. (Theory and Criticism in Context Series edited by Yehouda Shenhav, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Hakibbutz Hameuchad