19. Staff Meetings part 3 (Japan and the U.S.)

@Shoji Sugita

Recetly in March 1999, a pricipal of some prefectural senior high school committed suicide , suffering
from the problem of National Flag ( Hinomarru ) and National Anthem ( Kimigayo ) in the graduation
ceremony of his school.
I think it was connected to the staff meetings ,but here I will describe some opinions of the better staff
meetings in Japan, comparing that of the U. S.
T Hour of Staff Meetings
Generally speaking, the hour of staff meetings in Japan are longer than those in the U. S.
1, Japan
In Japan, sometimes staff meetings would go overtime, and there are very few regulations of hour
limit on them and there are no agreement between school boards and teachers' unions.
There are staff meetings one or two times per month, but on the other hand, there are monthly ones in
many schools, and though the beginnig of the times are ususally determined ( for instance, 3:30 ), but
the end times are not determined. So, sometimes their staff meetings would become much longer,
particulary at the end of school years in some schools.
2. The U. S.
For example.
@ 8.06 Faculty Meetings,
" Unit members shall not be required to attend more than two ( 2 ) faculty meetings per month, of one
hour duration each, except in unusual circumstances. " ( Cited: Agreement between The Alameda
Unified School District and Alameda Education Association )
A Teachers' Meetings
" Teachers should plan to reserve Wednesday afternoon for building meetings or for development ,
coordination and implementation of the school improvement plan. Meetings will be scheduled as
necessary by the building Principal, subject to approval by Area Superintendent. Unless the principal
and Union agree otherwise in advance, the length of the Wednesday meeting period should be limited
to one ( 1 ) hour. ( Cited: Agreement between The Board of Education of The School District of The
City of Detroit and the Detroit Federation of Teachers, July 1, 1994 - June 30, 1997 )
U Overtime Allowance in Japan
In Japan, National Law - Teachers' Allowance Special Law, ruled that teachers shall be payed overtime
allowance on the following works;
ZWorks on student training @ZSchool events, such as school trips, athletic meetings etc.
ZTraining of student teachers @ZStaff Meetings @ZWorks in emergency conditions
These jobs are expected to be worked in regular times, but sometimes they are overtime ones, so some
overtime allowances shall be payed to the teachers. It is about 4 % of salary each at the same amount
in the lump of these " five overtime works ."
So, the times and the length of staff meetings are not elements on the overtime allowances in Japan.
In the U. S. they don't have such an overtime allowance.
V Subjects in Staff Meetings
1. Japan
Subjects are more or less different in staff meetings each school, but In Japan the following subjects
would be discussed or consulted there.
Z Draft of curriculum of grades and courses of the school
Z Draft of discipline of students
ZAs concerns of entrance, transfer & exclusion of students
ZDraft of promotion, graduation of students
ZAs concerns of students' handbooks
ZPlanning of emergency evacuation of students
ZAs concerns of school lunch
ZPlanning of school events, such as school trips, athletic meetings, graduation ceremonies
Z As concerns of health & sanitary condition of students, and sometimes, of teachers
ZAs concerns of awarding honor to students
Z Draft of distribution of school budgets
ZAs concerns of school furnitures
ZAs concerns of making school regulations
ZAs concerns of student teachers
ZAs concerns of appointment of position of school staff
ZAs concerns of choice of textbooks
ZAs concerns of P.T. A. & local communities
ZAs concerns of school clubs
Like this, there are usually a lot of subjets in Japanese staff meetings, and sometimes it is not clear
which onese are the subjects determined by staff meetings as the first conclusion of the school,
and which ones are not, but shall be considered as administrative issues.
We should study more the distinction of " Mandatory items ", " Permissible items " and " Prohibited
2. The U. S.
Principals would submit subjets to staff meetings when he/ she would think it better for the schools,
so, these subjets are not specialized.
And many items such as class size, school calendar, teacher evaluation and reduction in force are
not committed to each school, but are the scope of negotiation of school boards and teachers' unions
and would be decided by them.
And principals usually will listen to opinions, students' problems and questions from staff in many
ways and would solve them before staff meetings. A sample, underdescribed.
And concern of teachers' unions, they would adopt the "Agency Shop " system to ensure their strength
and viability in the U. S., so they would be represenative status of all the teachers in scope of
W. Comments ( S. Sugita )
1. Points
We should consider which subjects shall not be put in staff meetings as " Administrative issues " in
Japan, and which subjects would be put there as " Educational issues " and which ones might be
submitted there as " Mixed issues of educational & administrative character ".
I will expect National Government and school boards to make these points, consulting to the Teachers'
Union and some others.
2. Good points in Japan
Z All the staff could understand the whole happening, circumstances of the school, and could see
@@the real behaviour of students.
Z All the staff would have " Owership " of the schools, and could have strong desires to build " Our
@@School " better and better.
3. Bad points in Japan
Z Staff meeting periods are sometimes too long and are too late.
ZThese are sometimes doubtful to who has the responsibilities of the subjects in fact.
ZThese staff meeitngs are sometimes so boring that some staff are absorbed in their self-affairs or
@@are chattering.
Z Teachers' unions might make use of the staff meetings, and might take good opportunities of
condemnation of their principals.
4. The U. S.
Z They are sometimes too short to discuss some difficult, but important problems of their schools.
ZBoth of School Boards and Teachers' Unions might regard staff meetings negatively.
X Reference Materials
1. Communication, by Dr. Donna Peterson, North Star Elementary Principal, Kanai, Alaska
( 1 ) Teacher journals are due each Monday at 4:00 information about student achievement, student
@@behaviour instruction, and other concerns or questions should be included. This informal communication
@@tool if for the principal's eyes only. Some experts may be included in weekly faculty reports.
( 2 ) On the door to the principal 's office is an appointment calendar. Sign up if you need an appointment
@@or would like to have coverage for your class.
( 3 ) E-mail is an efficient way to communicate with the office and with each other. More than half of the
@@schools in the Ditrict are " on-line ". Student information should NOT be transmitted via e-mail.
( 4 ) Staff should be available each Monday from 3: 35 - 5: 30 for a staff meeting. An agenda is availble via
@@e-mail on Monday morning. Approximately the first hour of each meeting will be dedicated to the agenda
@@and the second hour will consist of one of the following: staff training, grade level or wing meetings, or
@@committee meetings. ----------- Cited by WWW. FindLaw, Staff handbook
2. The Agency Shop
@Agency shop agreement requires an employee to pay union dues but does not mandate membership.
@Approximately seventeen states have legislation permitting the negotiation of such fees. Two states
@most recently enacting collective bargaining laws.
@The constitutionality of mandatory payment of agency fees by public employees was upheld by the United
@States Supreme Court in 1977 in a Michigan case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
--- Cited : Martha M. McCarthy, Public School Law, Teachers and Students Rights, 2nd 1987
Access counts ( 1999. 5. 18 )