U.S. vs. Japanese education

Fri, 15 Apr 1994 01:45:40 -0400

>Why is it that Japan has become the best in the world for education, leaving
>the United States at the bottom of the ranks? Does anybody have an answer
>or a thought on the question?

Let's see: could it be the genetic superiority of the Japanese? ;-) (Wow,
Boas almost jumped out of his grave and grabbed me by the neck.)

I assume your yardstick for 'superiority' means such things as 1) better
scores on standardized tests in verbal skills, math, and science; 2) better
preparedness for college; and 3) better rates of literacy in the K-12
levels. In all these categories, yes, Japan beats us hands down.

But a funny thing I'd like to point out before we move on - in higher
education, as opposed to primary education, these differentials break down.
This may explain why hordes of Japanese come to U.S. universities, but you
don't see many Americans going to study at the University of Tokyo... also,
one might stop and note, just for the record, that the U.S. still leads
Japan in the number of scientists getting Nobel Prizes and other awards...

A careful ethnographer might note a few things.
1. U.S. children watch about 800% more television than Japanese children.
(This figure is off the top of my head. No flames, please.)
2. Japanese children spend more hours in school per day and more days in
school per year. They tend to skip much less school than Americans.
3. Japan is a fairly ethnically homogenous society. They have never had to
worry about problems in education such as segregation, busing, or test
4. In Japan, secondary education (high school) is much more competitive
than in the U.S., often requiring entrance exams.
5. The Japanese government places a greater emphasis on education than the
U.S. government. Remember, in the U.S., a federal Dept. of Education is a
fairly recent phenomenon. Many still oppose its very existence.

> Please respond if you have any idea on the matter.
> Thankyou,
> Stacy Rhoads
>* Stacy L. Rhoads *
>* e-mail: srhoads@k12.ucs.umass.edu *
Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
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