17. Staff Meeting & Principal

Japanese version is here

@Shoji Sugita

1. Key points

Staff Meeting is an educational special council that shall deliberate about educational issues of school affairs and shall make the first decision of them in school.

2. Explanation

( 1 ) School affairs come under Clause 3, Article 28 of The Law of School Education as the following :
" The Principal has the power to administer school affairs and shall supervise school staff. "
So, they will include all of school affairs in school

( 2 ) Educational issues mean curriculum, discipline problems of students and some others as described under.

( 3 ) Staff Meeting has the power of the first decision of educational issues in school, however it does not have the power of them as the final decision. The Pricipal has such a power.

( 4 ) The Principal would be a member of Staff Meeting, but he or she usually does not join to the decision of it as a voter.

( 5 ) The Principal will summon to open Staff Meeting.

( 6 ) The decision of Staff Meeting shall be appreciated by the principal on the level of the first conclusion of educational issues as described under.

( 7 ) Staff Meeting shall be established in school, so it is not opptional.And it comes from reasonable logic of professional teachers'.

( 8 ) There are sometimes talked about reports, notices, adjustment among teachers and some simple activities in staff meeting, but they are not essential issues of Staff Meeting.? They are more or less different from each other.

3. Recent situation & Expectation

1. The latest situation
Recently there are increasing of atmosphere of cooperation with Monbusho ( Ministry of Education, Culture & Science ) and Niikyoso ( Japan Teacher Union ).
For instance, in September 1995, Niikyoso threw down their policy that Staff Meeting had the power to determine the best ways of school affairs and the principal had only the power to administer them faithfully as a representative and symbolic person of the school.?? And Niikyoso adopted a new policy that Staff Meeting had to cooperate with the principal in charge of him or her.

And Monbusho was the same, too. For instance, their superior officials spoke formally almost the same opinion in an official negotiation with Niikyoso in September 1998.

And the School Board of Metropolis of Tokyo made some new article on Staff Meeting in 1998 and ruled that principal will be able to establish a Staff Meeting in a purpose to consult school affairs to it.

Like these, there are changes to the circumstances of education in Japan.? But even now some different opinions are there in our country such as the following ones:
" If the principal would change a conclusion of Staff Meeting, he or she should explain the reason fully enough to let Staff Meeting understand it, and if not, the principal could not get cooperation of it. "? Or, " The Principal would be a target of criticism that he or she is incompetent and irresponsible. "

2. Expectation
I wiil not agree with these opinions. The Principal is not a perfect person like god.We have to make the limit of power of Staff Meeting more clearly legal and logical and also let the limit of power of principal more clearly legal and logical..
If not, as I described above, there would be confusion in school, so I will expect Monbusho to make Guidelines of Staff Meetings, consulting to Niikyoso, some prefectural board of educations and some other groups of education.

Now I will show a sample of it as the followings.

3. Guideline ( Shoji Sugita )
4. Supplemental explanation on my guideline

There is some spirit as that of my guideline in some laws and regulations in Japan.
1. The Law of School Education in Article 28 prescribes that the principal has power to deal with school affairs and shall supervise school staff. And it does not rule about Staff Meeting, but rules about Faculty Meeting of colleges and universities.?? So, their legal power is more or less different from among them.

2. The Supreme Court decided on May 21, 1976 that they would agree with the opinion that teachers would be specialist of teaching, however, they did not admitt perfect freedom of teaching of them, too.

3. The Local Administrative Law of Education prescribes that local school boards have to submit the plan of appointments, dismissals and discipline of school staff, however, prefectural boards of education have the power to deal with them finally.The plans from the local school boards should be appreciated by the prefectural boards of education, but the latter will keep the power of the final decisions of them from the independent standpoints.

4. Evaluation system of school staff is like that of my guideline.
For instance, the vice-principal would evaluate school staff at the first step, however the principal will evaluate them at the end.? Here, the principal will appreciate the result by the vice-principal, but principal has power to evaluate all of school staff from the independent points.

5. System of Entrance Examination of senior high school is the same as mine.
For instance, there is a committee that has power to select succesful candidates of the entrance, and the member of it would be the principal, the vice-principal, some chief teachers, and some other staff. The Principal shall evaluate the conclusion of the committee, but he or she shall decide finally by himself or by herself.

6. As concerns of Staff Meetings, there are some court decisions.
a. Tokyo Higher Court decided on March 8, 1977 as the following;
" It does not stand on the law, but stands on a reasonable logic of teaching that principal shall let School Meeting consider the issue of exclusion of students from the school."

b. Nigata District Court decided on April 4, 1967 as the following;
" It was an illegal procedure that there were only a half of all the teachers of the school in the Staff Meeting, and considered about a retaining issue of a student in the original class. Staff Meeting should not be so less-evaluated. "

c. Osaka Disrict Court decided on April 4, 1972 as the following;
" When they considered an issue of hoisting a national flag: Hinomaru, in a Staff Meeting, the conclusion of it was, Agree 3, & Disagree 38. But, the principal decided to hoist the flag on the top of the school.?? We do not give any opinion , legal or illegal, about the principal's decision, but Staff Meeting shall not be so -valuable."

5. Members of Staff Meeting

The Principal, vice-principal, tenured-teachers, nurse-teacher, assistant teachers, head office clerk, some clerical employee, some assistants, some matrons, and some others, as a matter of fact of the school.