Educational governance, school autonomy, and curriculum implementation: a comparative study of Arab and Jewish schools in Israel
In recent years, the predominance of the nation-state as the sole arbiter of curricular matters has eroded. New actors and organizations, especially local schools, have acquired greater discretion over the definition of school subjects and curricular emphases. This study investigates whether and how different patterns of educational governance influence the actual curriculum that local schools put into place. It is argued that uniformity/diversity in the implemented curriculum reflects macro-level factors (i.e. structural and institutional characteristics of national educational systems), and meso-level factors (i.e. community and local school characteristics). Specifically, it investigates between-school variation in curricular implementation in two major sectors of the Israeli public educational system: Jewish (secular), and Arab. School-based differences are reported in course offerings and time-allocations to subject areas in each sector. In addition, it compares actual curricular implementation in relation to official guidelines established by central authorities. Implementation patterns between and within sectors are discussed in light of educational governance differences and key macro- and local-level factors.