- A report by Israel Hayom's Shishabbat weekend magazine showed that "democratic" high schools fall far behind others in terms of how many students pass their matriculation exams and receive high school diplomas.
Some of these high schools are at the bottom of the list in their towns, Israel Hayom emphasized.
One example is Hadera's Democratic High School, which was the first Israeli school to use the model. There, just 18.9% of students finished with a high school diploma in 2018, compared to 70% of Israeli students overall. The city's Givol High School, also democratic and founded in 2006 had just 5% of its students graduate with a diploma. These two schools brought up the end of the city's list.
In central Kfar Saba, the democratic high school saw just 48.7% of its students receive diplomas - the lowest percentage of all the city's schools, other than the schools for youth at risk. In most of the other ten Kfar Saba high schools, around 90% of the students graduate with diplomas.
Since 1987, 39 democratic schools have been founded in Israel, mostly as an alternative to the existing school system. Twenty-eight of the schools are independent but recognized, or semi-private, receiving both funding from the Education Ministry as well as high tuition fees from parents.
Graduates of the democratic schools told Shishabbat that in addition to the many advantages to this type of learning, they also found that they did not have the tools to handle the Education Ministry's requirements: there was little emphasis on receiving a diploma, they did not know how to study for tests, and they did not learn certain subjects at all - including some of the core curriculum.
Many students who begin studying at a democratic school transfer to a regular high school in order to ensure that they receive a diploma, and some of them need to take entry exams or pay for private tutors, even for subjects such as history, literature, and Bible studies. As well, over the years, the democratic schools have become a haven for children who fall between the cracks of the regular school system, including those with ADHD or learning disabilities.