National challenges, educational reforms, and their influence on school management: The Israeli case

Ori Eyal, Izhak Berkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Considering Cohen, March and Olsen’s (1972) “garbage can model,” this paper seeks
to examine how educational reforms, adopted by Israel from pre-statehood to
contemporarily times, have impacted the role of principals and whether these reforms
have prepared them to address challenges of the system.
Using second-order historical sources, the paper employs a socio-historical
based data analysis to examine the complex relationship between policies, structures,
and values and their impact on the role of the principal. For each historical period in
the Israeli education system the paper discusses the immediate societal challenges,
the origins of the adopted reforms, and the influence of these reforms on the role of
the school principal and his/her ability to respond to the challenges placed before
This analysis demonstrates how imported policies and international trends,
that are loosely connected to local social, cultural, political and educational contexts
and the first fundamental layer of centralized reform adopted in Israel, have impact
policy-making and limited the principal’s response to contemporary socioeducational challenges. It is consequently argued that because the system is
consistently delayed in adopting educational reform, principals have been forced to
respond to the challenges of yesterday instead of focusing on future, and even current
Few studies have employed both the “garbage can model” and a sociohistorical perspective for studying policy-making in education and its influence on
the evolution of the role of the principal. The present novel study has the potential to
fill this gap in our knowledge by analyzing long-term processes and turning points
that have simultaneously shaped the principals’ ability to face societal challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Planning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


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