New plan may give families opportunity to choose schools
Finance Ministry says initiative would give parents opportunity to compare achievements of schools in their area.
By ABE SELIG
A new initiative being discussed by the Education and Finance ministries could have the country's elementary schools publishing teacher ratings and test scores online, so that families could choose which school they want their children to go to.
The plan, which needs the Finance Ministry's approval to move forward, would make it possible for families who live in a community with more than one school to be given the opportunity to choose which educational institution best fits their interests.
At present, most pupils are assigned to the school closest to where they live.
As a contingency measure, the plan also calls for the pupils' regular schools to keep space open for them. In schools that may receive a high amount of requests, extra classes will be added to accommodate the pupils.
The Finance Ministry explained that the program, which is still in the early stages of planning, would "give parents the opportunity to compare the achievements of schools in their area with one another and to send their children to the most successful institutions."
No change will be made to the criteria for children to be eligible for bus transportation to and from school.
The program would also appeal to recognized, but unofficial schools, such as "democratic" schools, which take a more individualistic approach to their curriculum, and as such, receive less funding from the Education Ministry.
As part of the program, these schools would receive funding equal to that of regular public schools, but be required to follow the guidelines of the plan and implement a curriculum approved by the ministry.
If they refuse to take part, the Education Ministry is weighing a cut in their funding by an additional 30 percent.
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