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In recent decades, the phenomenon of Alternative Schools is rapidly growing. Fueled with the neo-liberal agenda, it is one trajectory aiming at creating alternative public educational solutions to the ongoing public education global crises. So far, several hundred schools have been established in Israel and thousands in the US and the UK. With their focus on specific ideology such as Democratic-schools or on unique Pedagogy such as Montessori/Anthroposophy, they attract parents who wish to give their children educational advantage embodied in the alternative-school’s goals.

It is therefore surprising that there is little empirical data globally and almost no data in the Israeli context supporting the assumption that alternative education goals and practice have a unique impact on graduates of these schools. In other words, we know little about the actual quality and impact of alternative schools, and it is unknown how well they achieve their goals in relation to the desired Alumni Character they aim at.

We have selected four major types of Alternative-schools common in Israel: (1)Democratic-schools; (2)Anthroposophical-schools; (3)Secular-religious Jewish Pluralistic-schools; and (4)Jewish9Arab Pluralistic-schools. Two of these alternative schools (1;2) have broad presentations globally, and two (3;4) are unique to Israel.

In this research over 200 graduates from four different alternatives schools were interviewed. Alongside, a friend of the interviewee who grew-up in the same neighborhood with similar SES but attended ‘regular’ public-school was asked to answer a comparative questionnaire to verify neutralization of external influences.

Paper 1: Democratic Schools Alumni Perceptions

Democratic education is one of the oldest expressions of humanistic and progressive education, one that places the human in the center, examining the student from a holistic point of view and stressing human dignity, pluralism, freedom and active learning. The common definition of democratic education sets its attempt to create a microcosm of democratic society.

It claims that self-actualization and social participation are two sides of the same coin, creating a feedback-loop necessary for optimal democratic society. Therefore, the goal of this research is to examine the magnitude of these goals being attained by the alumni of Israeli Democratic schools and examining their retrospective perceptions regarding schools’ place in forming these very views.

Paper 2: Anthroposophical Schools Alumni Perceptions

Founded early in the 20th century, Waldorf education is based on the writings of Rudolf Steiner. The main principles of Waldorf education are based on a well outlined and disciplined convictions regarding optimal human development, human needs and growth. It aims at cultivating students intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual individual capacities and simultaneously to enhance their commitment to be of service to others and to the world surrounding them.

The goal of this research is to describe, analyze and interpret, from the retrospective viewpoint of graduates, the role of school in developing their cognitive, emotional, moral and spiritual capacities in accordance to the anthroposophical agenda.

Paper 3: Jewish-Arab Pluralistic School’s Alumni Perceptions

Integrated Jewish-Palestinian bilingual schools are schools where Arabs and Jews are deliberately educated together. These schools are believed to promote healing conflict wounds and ease the path towards peace. Bilingual schools in Israel were founded by groups of Jewish and Arab-Palestinian parents who shared the vision of an equitable shared society. Bilingual schools are characterized by joint Jewish-Arab management, co-teaching method of Jewish-Arab teachers, and both Hebrew-Arabic as teaching languages.

A main goal of bilingual education is to educate graduates rooted in their own national-ethnic identities, while at the same time empathetic towards other identities, recognizing legitimacy of other social groups. Our goal is to describe, analyze and interpret, from the retrospective viewpoint of Jewish and Arab graduates of bilingual schools in Israel, the role of the school in developing their identity, perception of the

Speakers

Yuval Dror, Professor

Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Yuval Dror is studying the field of progressive education from an historical perspective for many years and published over 50 articles and books on this issues. In addition, Prof. Dror initiated and established the specialization in...

Gadi Bialik

Senior lecturer at Kibbutzim College of Education

Gadi Bialik (Ph.D) is a senior lecturer in the Kibbutzim College of Education and the upcoming Head of the Educational Administration Department. His areas of interest are Educational-Change; The Development of Social Justice Educational...

Rony Ramot

Director of the unique teacher education unit at Kibbutzim College of Education

Rony Ramot, in the final stages of completing her doctorate at Tel Aviv University. Her PhD deals with teacher education policy in Israeli universities in light of research and development policy. For more than a decade in teaching and management...

Anat Shamir

Manager at Unistream

In the past, an educator in a democratic kindergarten. Today, manager of Unistream's youth innovation center in Netanya.

Karen Rosin

High school teacher at Branco Weiss

Former high school teacher and teacher's coordinator. Currently is working  for Branco Weiss, a social-educational organization which aims to improve and enhance opportunities available for children and pupils. Primary field is working with...

Nohav Oren

Coordinator at Yachad Modiin

In the past he served as director of the Israeli Youth Organization “Tzameret”, for religious and secular youth. He served as a Jewish Agency educational emissary in Helsinki, Finland. Today Nohav coordinates all of the Jewish studies at...

Run Aluf

Run recently worked as the Director of Noam Olami, the global network for Masorti youth. Previous to this he worked at Diller Teen Fellows and has a passion for informal Jewish education. Run has a degree in education & society and he completed...

Michal Merton

Manager at Joint-Ashalim

Michal Merton was a guide and instructor in the “Hashomer-Hatzair” youth movement. After that, she was a member of the movement in her adult life, until the age of 34. She was a training coordinator, established an association of informal...

Ilai tzachor

Educator

Ilai tzachor, age 31. Born and raised in a kibbutz, I’m passionate about education philosophy and passion for education also stems from the broken reality of the system as I’m beginning to understand policymakers. I worked as a teacher,...