Problematising teachers' accounts of privilege in elite high schools

Ilanit Pinto-Dror, Avihu Shoshana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research question at the core of this paper concerns how teachers in elite Israeli high schools explain their educational work in this context, given its central role in establishing and perpetuating privilege in the current polarised era. To answer this question, we conducted 28 interviews with teachers from three elite high schools in Israel. The findings reveal three ways teachers justified their educational work in elite schools: cultivating the ‘serving elite’, helping shape elite students' leftist political orientation and future voting behaviour (emphasising the idea that political leftism serves as a mitigating force against the excesses of plutocracy) and fulfilling elite children's right to a level of education commensurate with their ability. The discussion problematises these justifications by highlighting their features, which, in turn, contribute to a complex understanding of how privilege functions and how advantages and inequality are produced and perpetuated in exclusive and exclusionary elite spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1245
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 British Educational Research Association.


This research was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). Grant number: 2505/21.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2505/21


    • elite schools
    • justifications
    • privilege
    • socioeconomic status
    • teachers


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