Who hasn't seen "Stand and Deliver," the wonderful cinematic dramatization of how Jaime Escalante took a class of troubled and poorly educated East Los Angeles Mexican teenagers and managed to teach AP Calculus?
Now watch the heartwarming Israeli documentary "Tichon ha-Hizdamnut ha-Acharonah" (click here), in which a dedicated principal and his teachers take a group of Israel's worst high school seniors and prepare them for bagrut (matriculation) exams.
1) The teachers were not trained as educators and came from other professions without any teaching experience. The twenty-nine-year old principal came without any experience as a teacher or an administrator and there was no mention of his educational credentials. (He came on the heels of a slew of rotating-door principals, with the previous one having lasted but one day.)
2) The students in the school seem mostly to belong to particular social-ethnic groups that historically have not fared well on the path to absorbing into Israeli society. It is depressing to think that after six decades this is still a problem. I don't mean this as a criticism of modern Israel or the Zionist enterprise and I hope it isn't interpreted as an attempt to be motzi shem ra. Yes, Israel has come so far and achieved so much in its short history. But it's still depressing to read about ecstasy parties, mafia hits and an educational system that is plagued by wide gap in quality and results.
3) I was disappointed with the Russian girl at the end.
4) The principal sports a kippah. Not that it matters.