The first step, taken by authors Amos Oz and Meir Shalev, Supreme Court Justice (Ret) Mishael Heshin, Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover, Shlomo Dovrat – who headed the educational reform committee; and businessmen Nochi Dankner, Ofra Strauss and Dov Lautman – to name a few – was to form a new civil, a-political movement, dedicated to the cause.
The new movement will hold its first conference, titled "Its all about education," Monday; when its members will present a five-year plan to form a state-based equal opportunity educational system through legislation.
The movement seeks to declare Israeli education as a national priority mission, pushing at the same time for a core work plan which will include revamping infrastructure, redefining schoolteachers' ethics and assuring fiscal and technological resources for the educational system.
"Israeli education has been showing a retrogressive trend," said the movement's manifest. "Everyone understands the risk posed by this trend to our children's future, as well as to Israel's future as a modern democratic state, to its security and to the future quality of life of our society.
"The evidence is familiar to us all: Academic achievements are showing a steady decline, the gaps between students in all sectors are widening, violence in schools is on the rise, and quality teachers are becoming scarce.
"Outside the educational system we can see an increase in crime and corruption, a widening gap between the major cities and the periphery and the crumbling of social norms, such as caring for the weak, for nature and the environment and even for observing traffic laws."
Many of those involved in education, continued the manifest, have long been "plagued by lack of leadership and vitality; with the conceptual side lacking in public and academic debate; and the content and scope of public education lacking clear character.
"Furthermore, much of the legislation – set for years to come – has been put in place by struggling governments, trying to insure their political survival for no more than a few more months."
This educational vacuum, said the movement, prompted many organizations and parents' associations to put forward various educational initiatives; but unfortunately, those do not always coincide with the best interests of the students, especially when it comes to equal opportunity education.