Skip to comments.Why the United States Should Look to Japan for Better Schools
Posted on 11/21/2005 12:14:01 AM PST by neverdem
The United States will become a second-rate economic power unless it can match the educational performance of its rivals abroad and get more of its students to achieve at the highest levels in math, science and literacy. Virtually every politician, business leader and educator understands this, yet the country has no national plan for reaching the goal. To make matters worse, Americans have remained openly hostile to the idea of importing strategies from the countries that are beating the pants off us in the educational arena.
The No Child Left Behind Act, passed four years ago, was supposed to put this problem on the national agenda. Instead, the country has gotten bogged down in a squabble about a part of the law that requires annual testing in the early grades to ensure that the states are closing the achievement gap. The testing debate heated up last month when national math and reading scores showed dismal performance across the board.
Lurking behind these test scores, however, are two profoundly important and closely intertwined topics that the United States has yet to even approach: how teachers are trained and how they teach what they teach. These issues get a great deal of attention in high-performing systems abroad - especially in Japan, which stands light years ahead of us in international comparisons.
Americans tend to roll their eyes when researchers raise the Japanese comparison. The most common response is that Japanese culture is "nothing like ours." Nevertheless, the Japanese system has features that could be fruitfully imitated here, as the education reformers James Stigler and James Hiebert pointed out in their book "The Teaching Gap," published in 1999.
The book has spawned growing interest in the Japanese teacher-development strategy in which teachers work cooperatively and intensively to improve their methods. This process, known...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
FWIW, The Conspiracy Against the Taxpayers (Why public servants live better than the public) states the following: "In the last 30 years, per-pupil spending has nearly doubled, after accounting for inflation, to about $10,000 a yearfar more than in most other industrialized countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, whose latest figures show that the U.S. outpaces Germany in per-pupil spending by 66 percent, France by 56 percent, and the United Kingdom by 80 percent. Even so, American students rank only in the middle of countries on student achievement tests, the OECD reports."
Oh wait...that would invalidate all the idiocy that the Liberals have piled on our public schools! Silly me...
Umm.. we might want to reconsider, and start teaching content again. Of course, most teachers don't know any content.
Does Japan have a teacher's union? ;)
That's a great question.
New York Times again.
The US liberals don't know what a can of worms they are opening: the way teaching is done in Japanese schools today are either the same, or more likely far stricter, than the 1950s American high schools.
But wait...going back to the reactionary era is anathema to the folks at the NEA. How terrible!
(PS: Also notice that this article looks like a reprint of another NYSlimes article about Japanese education 10 years ago)
My daughter has been teaching in Japan for the past two years. There is NO WAY she would teach in a public school in the U.S.A. No teacher's union, no disciplinary issues, teachers arrive well before the start of the school day and are there till well into the evening. They also participate in all the students' club activities and eat lunch with the students. Even the brightest, most accomplished students tend to think they are not good enough in their best subjects.
The most startling difference is that she was invited by the school to put up a CHRISTMAS TREE !!!! (not a holiday or wishing tree, either) The staff and students helped cut and trim the tree and enjoyed it so much they wanted a second one in the school. You all can just IMAGINE that in a US public school.
"New York Times again."
And looking suspiciously like dusting out a news story on the Slimes 10 years ago, re-edited the focus, and then published again as a "new" news story. (The original article was reprinted on the Reader's Digest so I remember its contents)
Yes and very political. NYT doesn't mention that high bully and suicide rates in Japanese schools.
There is definitely a profound cultural difference between our two countries.
Yes, they do. They have a teacher's union, which is traditionally left-wing, anti-nuke, and pacifist. I haven't heard they are resorting to any virulent extremism. They are not like "Middle-Core," a militant leftist organization frequently resorting to violent protests.
These left-wing groups appear to suffer from sagging grass-root support.
Thanks for posting this!
No sweat. Government will fix it up just dandy. Our Rulers promised.
Are you constipated?
New York Times again.
So what? What's wrong with this OpEd piece? What's your proposal after GWB's "No Child Left Behind"?
Thanks for answering the question with that link!
Is your daughter in a public or private school? At least two comments on the thread state that they have teacher unions.
And making a killin' $$$ too. Lot's of perks- tax free, IIRC.