March 6, 1985

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Vol. 04, Issue 24
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To mark the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, students from across the United States are sending drawings and messages of peace to students in Japan.
A venturesome blending of old cultural values with new and foreign ideas has given Japanese education its dynamism. A cautious insistence on planning has given it stability.
Even in America, the idea is not as simple as it sounds: Give the best teachers extra pay and recognition and the whole teaching profession will be invigorated.
A careful bureaucrat, Mr. T. tells me that he sometimes writes articles for the education journals. But because the Tokyo-based organization he works for is funded by the government and works with teachers, he cannot write exactly what he wants. He must find a middle ground, he says, to please both the conservative education ministry and the liberal teachers' union. His arguments have to be extremely refined to be able to be of interest to these polarized groups.
Twenty-seven-year-old Yukiko Kunishige is a bright, free-thinking woman who excelled in school until a high-school experience she describes as "closed and narrow" ended her desire for formal education. She skipped college, opting instead for what she calls "the reality of the world."
If Harumi Aoki's students love to call her "a former housewife," it is not from any lack of respect. It's because the noted poet, recently honored with Japan's prestigious "H Prize" for one of her collections, is teaching creative writing to a class full of Osaka housewives.
Whenever I visit Kyoto, I usually stay near the T. family, because Mr. T.--a police detective, private-school owner, interpreter, boarding-house keeper, fortune teller, masseur, musician, etc.--is the best guide to Japanese culture I know and because his wife, "Mama," is a gracious hostess.

Whenever I drop by--no matter what the hour--Mama serves me something to eat or drink and tries to make me comfortable until the sensei (the term for a revered teacher) is free from his various business chores.

Nobuo K. Shimahara is a professor of educational anthropology in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education, where he is participating in the Japan-America collaborative study initiated by former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell.
Following are the comments of a broad range of interested parties on how, and whether, the Japanese education system should be changed.
Following is a list of source materials for "Schooling in Japan" and selected readings on the nation and its schools.
As dawn breaks each morning across this nation, working parents wake up hoping that their children will be well enough to go to school, their babysitters will show up, and, above all, the school will be open.
The latest discovery of the textbook critics is that editors of literature anthologies change words, omit passages, and even sometimes rewrite parts of literary works without clearly indicating such editing.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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