Educational reforms and inequalities in Israel: The MMI hypothesis revisited

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Abstract

Israeli secondary school students sit for national matriculation examinations that result in their receiving either a plain or a university-qualifying diploma. During the 1990s, the Ministry of Education implemented policies that were designed to raise eligibility rates for the diploma. This article evaluates the consequences of these policies for gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities in the odds of obtaining the two forms of the diploma. The results show that the reforms reduced socioeconomic inequalities in the odds of obtaining the plain diploma but increased inequalities in the odds of obtaining the university-qualifying diploma. Overall, the results refute the prediction of Raftery and Hout's (1993) hypothesis of maximally maintained inequality that inequalities are maintained as long as privileged groups have not reached saturation vis-à-vis an educational level. Rather, they are consistent with Lucas's (2001) claim that the differentiation of a given educational credential can substitute qualitative inequalities for quantitative ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages18
JournalSociology of Education
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2004

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