Education in Rehovot
By Shelley Schwarzbaum
After mastering milk in bags, people shoving on line, and all the other idiosyncrasies of Israeli life, I would say that education is really “the last frontier” to adjusting to life in Israel. It’s not a matter of “better” or “worse”, but many things here are simply done differently from what the average Anglo Oleh is used to. So, before we get to specific schools, I’d like to put in my 2c (and the opinions here are only my own) about some of the differences (not Rehovot-specific) between the Israeli and American systems.
Celebrating Chanuka in a Rehovot Israel Gan. My personal experience is with the State religious systems. We have five kids (three of whom were born here), with the oldest in a combined army-law school program, and the youngest entering 3rd grade. My comments are based –of course- on our personal experience with a limited number of schools.
Early childhood education is covered extensively, below, so I will stick to elementary & high schools. For elementary school, all my kids went/go to Tachkemoni (see below), the local State Religious school. The main difference, that explains all other differences, is that this is public school. The main plus, here, is almost-free tuition (parents pay for books, class trips, and various extras). The negatives is that not only do the parents not have too much input, but the school itself doesn’t really have any control: class size is large (usually 30-35 kids per class), it is very difficult to expel a problem child, and the school doesn’t have much that they can offer to attract the best and the brightest teachers. The schools are fairly successful at teaching basic skills, and facts; they try very hard, but a certain excitement is missing. Too many complaints or suggestions are answered with “ze ma sheyesh” – this is what there is.
In high school, there are “good schools” and “good classes”.