Back to school 370.
(photo credit: Flash 90)
The Jerusalem municipality launched on Sunday an initiative allowing the public
to review social data about the city’s schools online, as part of Education Week
taking place in the city.
The site, entitled the “Tree of values,” is a
tool which was previously used only by education professionals to assess the
situations of different institutions.
The “tree,” available for
consultation on the municipality’s website, reviews over 30 social indicators
such as the percentage of army enrollment in each school, moral education or
parents’ and students’ opinions about the atmosphere at the school.
figures include the institution’s community involvement, including the number of
volunteers at the school or how many of its students are members of youth
All indicators on the website are categorized according to
three factors: the school’s average in the specific field, the average of other
comparable schools and the improvement the institution has displayed in the
These factors are then color-coded into green, yellow or red.
Green indicates that in the particular area examined, the school is in good
conditions; yellow means that the school is in moderate condition; and red
suggests that much improvement is needed at the school.
Municipality, which is the first to implement the “tree of values” in Israel,
said the tool was made openly available to the public in order to help parents
decide in which school to register their children.
discourse tends to consider only grades and forget elements such as moral
education, community involvement, army enrollment, students’ participation in
youth movements, attitudes of parents and students as well as the learning
atmosphere at the school,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement on
“This is a management tool that creates a common language for all
principals and also allows the municipality to locate excellence as well as
points of failure that should be improved in every school. Now, it’s published
in full transparency,” he added.
Barkat expressed confidence in the
initiative and said he will be happy to help the municipalities implement the
City Council member Rachel Azaria, however, told The Jerusalem
she is not pleased with the decision to make the “Tree of values” public,
which she said, harms public schools.
“Instead of working to improve the
quality of education and address the unique challenges of each school, it forces
schools to compete for compliance with arbitrary factors determined by the
municipality which are not necessarily relevant to the quality of the school,”
“The municipality is actually forcing schools to fight
for survival according to the rules of the free market, which may fit the
business world but is not really suitable for the education system, which aims
to provide equal opportunities for every student in the city,” she
Azaria added that while such assessment tools are important
for the internal use of the municipality and education professionals, making
them public perpetuates the gaps that already exist in the Jerusalem education
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