The large gaps between Jews and Arabs in educational attainment are not due to sectoral or cultural differences but to income differences. This is evident from a study published by Nahum Blass of the Taub Center for Policy Studies. It turns out that the big gaps stem mainly because the Arab sector is much poorer than the Jewish sector. When comparing the achievements of the same economic strata, the achievements of the Arabs are compared to the Jews, and in some cases even exceed them.
Blass points out that the gap between Jews and Arabs in the Mitzvah and even adulthood tests has narrowed greatly over the past decade, but that in recent years, progress has been halted and international PISA tests have also seen a significant deterioration in the achievements of the Arab sector in 2018.
Blass checked the Mitzvah test scores, the assessment of the education system, from 2008 to 2017. During this period, Jewish maths grades in fifth grade increased by 10% and Arab grades by 22%, meaning the gap narrowed by 12%. Jewish scores in English increased by 6% and the Arabs by 13%, meaning the gap was 7%.
It turns out that the gaps between Jewish and Arab students disappear almost completely when comparing the Mitzvah math results in the fifth grade of students from the same socio-economic tier. From a low social background in the Mitzvot, 526 points and of Jews stood at 514. The score of Arabs from high backgrounds was 576 compared to 553 of Jews. Balas concludes that the reason why Jewish students' achievements are far higher than those of Arabs is that there are so many students of low socio-economic background in Arabs.
In the eighth grade in the junior high, in recent years the gaps between Jews and Arabs in the Mitzvash achievements in science and English and in the math test have remained stable. The economic medium is 9 points higher than that of the Jews, and in the Arab sciences the achievements of the Jews exceed those of the Jews at all socio-economic levels.
The gap in the rate of those eligible for a high school diploma that meets the requirements of universities between Jews and Arabs is 11%. But when students from the same socio-economic stratum are compared, the picture is reversed. In socio-economic clusters 4-3, the average eligibility for quality maturity in Arab communities is 9% higher than in the corresponding Jewish clusters. Balas concludes: "In socio-economic communities similar to Arab students, they are now achieving higher achievements."
This egalitarian picture is spoiled by the PISA 2018 test scores, conducted by the OECD for 15-year-olds. While the scores of Jewish students in their mother tongue have been in place since 2012, Arab scores have dropped by 40 points. The average score of Jews is 487 points and of the Arabs only 362, which is a huge gap of 125 points. Various experts have offered the explanation that the Israeli education system and especially the Arabs teach to memorize and test memorization in its tests, such as the Mitzvah and matriculation. This, while PISA tests test the ability to apply the knowledge.
An area where the gaps have narrowed but are still large, Blass notes, is dropping out of high school. If in state education, the dropout rate is 4% in Arab education is double that, 8%. In practice, this is a serious dropout of 12% for boys and only 5% for Arab girls.
Research reveals that in the Arab high deciles there is a growing trend of sending children to private schools. 25% of schools in the Arab sector are defined as unofficial, which means they are private. Of the 28 Arab schools whose population is one of the top four decimals, four are state and 24 (six times) private. In contrast, in the lower cultivation decile there are 78 state schools and only 16 private schools. Blass explains this "in the middle-class dissatisfaction, which is growing in the Arab population, from the official education system."