Record numbers of honors-level math students in Arab, Druze schools

"The Arab minority has now burst into excellence in math and science."

Sivan Landman, director of the Honors Cities network. (photo credit: INGRID MULLER)
Sivan Landman, director of the Honors Cities network.
(photo credit: INGRID MULLER)
Eight Arab and Druze regional councils have seen an increase in honors-level math students this past year, with some surpassing the national average rates, the Israeli Honors Map found.

The rates of honors-level math students in Israel have doubled from 2012 to 2018. Several cities and regional councils saw doubling and tripling rates of honors-level math students in several years, with Arab and Druze schools, including ones in lower socio-economic classes, taking the lead and surpassing the average rates in the country.

In Maghar, a socio-economic level 2 Druze city in the Galilee, 17.3% of the students took the honors-level math exam last year, placing the city almost 2% higher than the national average. Since 2012, the rates of honors-level math students in the city have doubled.

"The data shows that the secret for the success of the regional councils belonging to classes 1-6 lies not in the cluster itself, but rather in the willingness of the local leadership to take the lead and inculcate comprehensive educational programs that create the conditions for achieving excellence," said Sivan Landman, director of the Honors Cities network.

"The fact that the 18 regional councils that showed a rapid increase of over 50 percent over the past three years, include large and small, well-established and indigent, Jewish and Arab authorities, shows that a determined and focused decision by a mayor and an urban education team to implement effective work plans can lead to continuous improvement."

The Israeli Honors Map is a joint program by Landman's Honors Cities network and the Trump Foundation that follows the annual progress of local authorities and regional councils in Israel in promoting honors-level math education in high schools. The Israeli Honors Map relies on data published by the Education Ministry in the years 2012 to 2018.

The Honors Cities network is a partnership between Israeli regional councils dedicated to promoting high-quality, honors-level education. The network was established in 2016 by Tel-Aviv University's Regional Government Research Institute headed by former interior minister, Ofir Paz-Piness, and in partnership with the Local Government Center, the Education Department Directors Association and the Trump Foundation.

"In recent years, the Arab minority has made its way into the center of the Israeli society through excellence in soccer and medicine and has now burst into excellence in math and science," said Piness. "Minorities around the world are characterized by an attempt to stand out to gain legitimacy from the majority."

"I am pleased to see that there is a positive curve in achievement and in education for excellence, even in low-class communities," said Dr. Aliza Bloch, Mayor of Bet Shemesh, and head of the partnership program. "When the authority has programs in place as part of the agenda and implementation of honors programs, and when both students and teachers understand and believe they will succeed, we build the foundation of a more successful society and enabling equal opportunities for all students."