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The Emergence of the Local Management of Schools (LMS) in Israel: A Political Perspective

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study is to analyze the emergence of the local management of schools (LMS) in Israel. The theoretical framework guiding the present study based upon political behaviour perspectives which directs attention to the contextual forces that generate issues stimulate pressures and govern decision processes by shaping the opportunity structures in which actors deliberate and decide policy. It is also known from the political behaviour perspectives that government seeks responses that stabilize and legitimize the system as both are necessary for the system to function. Grounded on that theory it is argued following Weiler (1990), that the decentralization reform in the Israeli educational system, through the emergence of the LMS was done for political reasons, rather than for pedagogical reasons as it was presented to the public.

This case study, based on key persons interviews, published and unpublished documents, reveals that the Israeli Ministry of Education (representing the central government), which holds responsibility for the performance failures of the educational system, sought to solve conflicts with the various group interests (teachers unions, business corporations and parents’ associations) and gain legitimacy in the eyes of the public, by decentralizing the educational system. By adopting that behavioural pattern, the central government succeeded in reducing criticism, gained the tacit consent of the teachers unions (who been the main group to criticize the ineffectiveness of the educational system performance) and transferred the responsibility for the school performance to stake holders, primarily to school teachers and parents.

Keywords: Israel; Local management of schools (LMS); accountability; central government; diversity; parental involvement; political behaviour perspectives; school autonomy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7459/pc/15.2.02

Affiliations: Bar-Ilan University

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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