Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ethiopians - Integrated Schools?

YNET reports:

Veteran Israelis gradually transfer children from local school following influx of students from immigrant families. 'This isn't about discrimination, there are some really sweet children amongst them, but the teachers can't handle the violence – enough is enough,' says concerned mother. [...]

A former teacher at the school said that 14 years ago there were almost no Ethiopian students at the school. According to her, when Ethiopian families began moving into the neighborhood the school worked to integrate the new arrivals.But, as the years lapsed, the number of Ethiopian students rose and that of the veteran Israelis decreased.“They just ran away to other schools,” said the teacher. One mother who transferred her children to a different school spoke with Yedioth Aharonoth. "This isn't about discrimination. There are some really sweet children amongst them, but a few years ago I decided that enough is enough,” said the mother. “The situation became intolerable. The academic level plummeted while the level of violence rose to the point where the teachers just couldn't control it,” she explained.

"An outrage," one of the teachers currently working at the school called the situation. "It's hardest on the children, especially on field trips. People keep asking them if this is an Ethiopian school," she said. Eli Sadeh, who until three years ago was the school principal said, “It is clear that when veteran Israelis see the percentage of Ethiopians increasing, this is their reaction. “The absurd thing is that veteran Ethiopian immigrants have also asked to transfer their children from the school after they saw it was filling solely with Ethiopians,” he said. “The problem is that some schools are flexing their muscles, and they don’t want to absorb Ethiopian students. “When I was the principle I sounded the alarm when 50% of the students were Ethiopian. We did whatever we could to take care of these wonderful children,” he said.

Some 800 Ethiopian children study in Petah Tikva’s schools, most of them in the state-religious school system. In order to discourage the creation of a 'ghetto' and with the intent of maintaining integration, a quota has been introduced, limiting the amount of Ethiopian students the schools can absorb.

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