40. Movement of charter schools in Japan

 Shoji Sugita
As for charter schools whick I previously described under the title of " Answers of
charter schools to my questions from the founders, principals of charter schools in
the United States " on my page on WWWs in Japanese, it is said to be quite useful
for Japanese educators.
I will express my gratitude to them, noted on the last page of this description.

Here, thinking to the return of their hospitality and international understanding of
each other, I will describe " Movement of charter schools in Japan."

There are no charter schools in Japan now, but sooner or later, charter schools will
be founded there, too.
T Planning of Charter Schools
1. Shonan Elementary School ( tentative name ) & Shonan Junior High
            School ( tentative name )

               Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Pref.
Material: " Association to create new Public School in Shonan Area ", Nov.10,1999
( Summary )
● School district of the school is the whole area of Fujisawa City.
● Non- school grade system
● Class style such as same age and same grade will not be adopted by us, and Lesson
  style will be adjusted for each student. That is, study programming enables to each
  student to learn at his/her age period.
● First of all, The Elementary School will be founded.   About 100 student capacity.
● The place of learning will not be limited to the campus, but will be expanded to
  a cultural hall and library and so forth.
● We will educate the students to be accountable for their lives and to learn the way
  by which he/she will cooperate with society.
● Accountablity of learning will be evaluated by the teachers and those who support
  the school, and more about it, questions by the students and parents will be considered.
●School Steering Committee:
  Student 2  School staff 2  Parents 2  Administrator 1
  Intellectural of education 1
● School Board
 As for personnel issues like employment of teachers, it will be requested to the local
 school board to let teachers move to the school. Otherwise, unclear.     
● According to " Four seasons of the Shonan Elementary School",
  Aniversary of Foudation of the School.... April 1st
  Inauguration of the School Board ............April 2nd - 4th
【Comment】This school might become the first charter school in Japan, and I will expect
      them to make the rules of the evaluation system and the school board more
2 Hiroshima Rainbow School
Material: " Image of the Hiroshima Rainbow School at which we aim"
( Summary )
●There wil be equality of standard between the principal and the teachers and the students
 in our school, and the teachers address their students as "- san " regardles of boys and girls,
 and also the students address their teachers as " - san ".
● The school will be managed firmly hearing students' opinions and adult opinions shall not
  be pressed upon students by force.
● There will be no school uniform.
● Art is important for all the students to hear, to support and to bring up the mind through it.
  Therefore, Aritmetic ( Mathematics ) and Japanese language and so forth will be taught to
  the students through art: music, dance and plays, especially between the age of seven to
● A teacher ( Class-room teacher ) will lift up to the eighth grade or the seventh grade from
  the first grade, and the teacher will teach Arithmetics ( Mathematics ), Japanese language,
  Social study and Science.
  And the charge time of the teachers will be continuosly for two hours every morning for
  about three weeks. We call it as a block or an epoch of the lesson.
● How to teach the block or the epoch is regarded as the responsibility of the teachers realizing
  the limit of curriculum.
● Various teachers will teach various subjects, especially, handkraft and foreign language.
● Two foreign languages will be taught from the first grade in the elementary school.
● The school will be located in natural environment and there are a lot of forests and the school-
  house would be built with wood.
● To aim at a consistent education from the 1st grade in the elemetary school to the 3rd
  grade of high school.
● Kindergarten will be established as an annex.
● Only students being able to go to school from their home will be accepted.
    How to teach and guide the students and how to treat the students the same as the
    teachers might be a difficult problem, particulary on discipline issues of students
    in the future. And " More freedom wil put greater responsibility on the school." ,
    this is another difficult problem for other charter schools, too.
3 Tottori Country School ( Tottori municipal )
( Summary ) http://www.suzume.com/~yoheisan/top/school/tcs.htm/
● 100 - 150 students for elementary and junior high school
● To use unemployed capital facilities as the schoolhouse and to use the vicinity as the school-
  yard and the teaching materials.
● To use local people and craftsmen to be volunteer assistant staff of the school.
● All of the staff including the principal live in this area as inhabitants, consumers and voters, and
  will act as the trainers wearing sweat shirts for the students.
● We had the model about a half of the school system from the one of the Aichi Pref. Ogawa
 Elementary School.
● Observing the guidelines of curriculum ruled by the Ministry of Education, we will let
  the students solve the problem by themselves and to learn individually about their new
● Lesson hours in the classroom will be reduced to the minimum and thinking substance
  effect of activities, practical activities, experience and project study are enhanced to their
● All of the students shall be respected as equal and admitted each other and will study hard to
  the best of their ability in our school, there will be none of not going to school, bullying,
 class collapse, violence and dropping out of the school.
● To aim to founding on April 1, 2001, and at the latest, it will be done by April 1, 2002.
【Comment】 It might be the same as other charter school to be asked much accountability
        because of it's freedom.
U The Final Report of Educational Reform in National Convention
                       December 22. 2000   Media reported
● The school of a new type such as " Community School " is promoted.
● Local government wil be able to set up public schools of a new type of which inhabitants
  can participate in the management of it and community can demand it's need directly.
  This, local government can be asked to propose such a school to be founded and after
  checking on the proposal local government will set up the new schools.
● The regional school conference by each school checks regulary on the results and the
  school management.
V The Report of the Research Group of Liberal Democratic Party
             : Reform of Education in Japan
           ー New Research and Development of School System ー
                            August 10. 1999
● To make a suitable guidance and school system for students not to go to school and
  received bullying and so forth.
● Education of more valuable experience
● Education of more progressive contents of study
● In private schools, to education of more talent in special fields of science, art ,sports
  and some other subjects.
● The Minister of Education shall specify the problems and shall appoint some schools
  as pilot schools that include charter schools.
 As a rule, local government shall be responsible for the expenduture of the schools,
 however, Ministry of Education will submit financial assistance to them.
● As for equipment of them, local government will arrange to use empty classrooms,
  small branch schools and some others.
● Demand of curriculum and developmental problems from parents and communities
 shall be reflected in the education of the schools.
● Moreover, curriculum of 6:3:3 school system shall be re-checked over the frame.
● To cooperate with othe educational organizations.
● To make the rules on impartial evaluation system of the results, incuding their own
● A new charter school system is pursued in the private school sector, too.
● Securing political neutrality is noted.
● The Ministry of Education shall make a clear guideline of it.
1. " Junior high and Senior high school Forum ",
2. Oonuma, Yasuhisa home page
3. Kaneko, Ikuyo, " Communty School Plan ". 2000, Iwanami-shoten
W Others
1. According to the information of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,
 a nationwide achievement test of Elementary School and Junior High School will be
executed in the shool year 2001, and that of Senior High School will be in the school
year 2002.
Whenever these tests would be executed in reality, it would be available for accountability
of charter schools in Japan.
2. Previously, "Yomiuri Press" proposed foundation of charter schools in public and NHK
  telecasted the news on November 19, 2000,too.
X List of Founders, Principals and some Directors who answered my questions
           Thanks a lot
, but omit ".. san : さん in Japanese", this includes all of " Mr.Mrs.Miss,Ms"
                         and sounds friendlly and intimately in Japan
Arizona   Michael Gerdes ( Excel Education Centers )
       Linda Volhein  ( Crittenton Youth Academy )
California  Colin Miller   (the California charter networking group )
       Richard Teagarden ( Superintendent of Yuba County Office Of Education )
Delaware  Ron Russo
Detroit   Linda Leddick  ( Detroit Public Schools )
Florida   Merritt, Jeffrey P Gretchen Vodrey  ( Vice President Haskell Educational Services )     
       Nancy Kirk    ( Terrace Community School )
Geogia   Jim Allen     ( Principal Cartersville Primary School )
Minnesota  Jim Norris   ( Charter Friends National Network )
Oregon   Richard Meinhard
Texas    Rushton Hurley
       Ms. Patsy O'Neill ( the Charter School Resource Center of Texas )
 Described at the beginning of March,2001   More details in Japanese, here