Unity within Diversity is an account of a unique experiment designed to test the possibility of devising a common core curriculum, relating both to values and to scholastics, for all educational streams in Israel. It proposes a model methodology and enumerates various ways in which a core curriculum could be implemented in practice. The volume is based on an experimental project run by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which involved teams in each of the four educational streams in Israel: the State (secular) system, the State Religious system, the State Arab system, and the Independent (Ultraorthodox) system. In schools of all four streams there are elements that can serve as anchors for the joint core curriculum, without detracting from the school’s unique character and without compromising the principles of the community that it serves. This model offers the core curriculum as a systemwide educational element that develops in a bottom-up direction, starting from the values and content that constitute the foundation of education and learning in the various schools and to the public arena as a whole.
Policymakers, in the Government and Knesset as well as in the different sectors, could draw on this book to improve the education system. But even if the political and educational establishment fails to do so, the book could serve as the seedbed for a common core curriculum that emerges from the grassroots, with principals and teachers, as well as pupils and parents in schools all over the country adopting relevant processes and principles from it. The book is thus offered first of all to those actually engaged in the educational enterprise, in the hope that they will find that it reinforces the ethical and scholastic anchors of a common core curriculum for all Israeli children.
Libat Avishai is a researcher at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the director of the Van Leer Forum on the Third-Sector.
Rabbi Prof. Naftali Rothenberg is a senior fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.