Some time ago, I read an article in one of our local newspapers about a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common in Israeli schools: teachers count on their struggling students to get back-up lessons through private tutoring, to an extent that they don't really try very hard to present the material in a way that would be understood by each and every student.
Private tutoring was very common when I was still in school. I think every student in my class took private lessons at some subject or other, and usually in more than one. I took private lessons in math myself. We soon found out that we were dependent on our private lessons, and if we struggled, it was practically the only way to get extra help because the school provided none. Of course, this meant that those who could not afford private tutoring would not get decent marks in the subjects they found more difficult – creating a huge discrepancy between students from rich and poor families.
Now it seems that in some schools, the situation resembles a mafia of sorts, with teachers failing on purpose to adequately present a subject, and then directing their students to private tutors - their colleagues, teachers from other schools, who are trying to supplement their meager salary. In turn, they serve as private tutors themselves to students from other schools.
It's very understandable to me, of course, why private tutoring is such a popular system. I think it would be safe to say most children blossom when they get lots of one-on-one attention, which is something that is impossible to achieve in a classroom of 30 students. But of course the current school system, as it is, is intolerable.
I'm certain that voices will cry for a school reform, which is undoubtedly much needed. Perhaps changes will form, but it will take time, and in the meantime children will continue to suffer from an inadequate education.
For some families – not many, but some – the answer, I'm sure, will be found in homeschooling. The first buds of it are already seen in Israel, though homeschooling families are still regarded as freaks. Some time ago I read an article about homeschooling parents who were born in Israel – a rare phenomenon, as most Israeli homeschoolers, I believe, are people from English-speaking countries.
I doubt homeschooling will ever becoming truly popular here, because Israel is a country with highly institutionalized childcare and very few stay-at-home mothers – and let's face it, a parent at home is probably necessary for homeschooling to succeed. But I think it will take hold in some families who want to make sure their children are properly educated, and are ready to take the challenge of living on one income to make it happen.