Bringing great minds together to combat educational inequality

Prof. Dalton Conley of Princeton University spoke of how genetics determines education inequality.

By
November 21, 2017 01:20
3 minute read.
PROF. JAMES HECKMAN of the University of Chicago speaks at the Taub Center conference in Jerusalem y

PROF. JAMES HECKMAN of the University of Chicago speaks at the Taub Center conference in Jerusalem yesterday.. (photo credit: SARAH LEVI)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The Taub Center’s annual conference brought together leaders in the social sciences and policy-makers on Monday for lectures and panel discussions centered around this year’s theme of education inequality.

Titled “Education Inequality in Israel: from Cradle to University,” the all-day conference delved deeply into how to handle inequality from even the prenatal stage all the way up to adulthood.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Lecturers from both Israel and the United States presented their most recent data that could eventually be used to affect policy.

Guests included policy-makers, educators, academics and researchers.

According to Prof. Yossi Shavit, education policy program chair at the Taub Center, “We invited the education minister, and he turned us down, so we invited the director-general, and he turned us down. None of the other guests who were invited turned us down.”

Prof. Dalton Conley of Princeton University spoke of how genetics determines education inequality.

By comparing genetic factors with external factors, his research shows that genetics plays a very small role in determining one’s successes or failures in the classroom.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Although Conley’s data were relevant mostly for the United States, Shavit told The Jerusalem Post why the center chose him as a keynote lecturer: “to alleviate the concern that inequality is significantly determined by genetics; and although genetics has something to do with it, its effects should not be overstated in the exclusion of policy alternatives.”

The next discussion centered around vocational education.

It was chaired by MK Yossi Yonah and featured speakers Elad Demalach from the Bank of Israel, Shirin Natour-Hafi, principal of ORT Vocational High School in Lod, and Shavit.

Yonah introduced the panel by addressing the “provocative” connotation vocational schools have in terms of class and race, showing higher enrollment rates in vocational schools among the Arab, Ethiopian, Mizrachi and Russian populations.

Natour-Hafi shared her experience working in the Arab sector and spoke of successes in breaking into fields of medicine and biology.

However, she explained that on an institutional level, the Arab students do not have the “clean slate” Israeli Jews have with the army.

“An Israeli Jew who did not perform strongly in high school has a second chance when he reaches the army. [By contrast] we do not have this in our infrastructure,” she said.

Natour-Hafi also touched on external factors that hinder Arab students’ chances for social mobility. “When we speak of change and progress, it’s a physical change; don’t just change the curriculum, change the physical structure of the classroom.”

Addressing the Education Ministry, she added: “If you want reform, if you want more pupils to enroll at five matriculation points, don’t send us an email, go to the schools yourself, don’t continue to widen the gap between what is done in theory and what is done in practice.”

In keeping with the theme of the day, Prof. James Heckman of the University of Chicago and a Nobel laureate gave a keynote lecture on the value of quality preschool education.

Using the adage that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Heckman explained the value (both economic and social) of investing more in quality preschools.

Going further, he asserted that what is vital is not just preschool but even prenatal care: “Encouraging young mothers not to drink or smoke can offer long-term advantages.”

Heckman also explained that all the reforms in ensuring quality education and pre-education can help, but his results show that children who come from loving and attentive families end up performing better than those who don’t.

“The schools can be all the same, but there’s the family lurking in the background,” he concluded.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Israel Katz (right) and Ambassador Zhan Yongxin of China
October 21, 2018
The Hanukkah song hidden in Harry Potter - In Hebrew

By JTA