61. UT"K-16 Initiative" and Japan
  In addition:The Early High School Graduation
         Program in Texas

             Japanese version, here
Shoji Sugita
Recently, I read a topic concerning the University of Texas " K-16 Initiative " written in a Japanese
news paper. I asked my friend : Dr.Nolan Wood, the Director of Division of Education Department
Project of Texas Education Agency, for the article and he told me the original article was on the
Internet. Now, I will decribe the outline of the article and some issues of education in Japan.
T Outline of the Plans
1. The "UT System's K-16 Initiative" is named for its emphasis on the education continuum
 from kindergarden through college.
2. It includes expanding a program to put more math and science teachers in classrooms.
3. It includes establishing a charter school " based in Austin school district lagging performance
  in teaching low-income students."
4. It includes providing on-line systems most effectively on new statewide accountability tests,
  research and university-based teacher preparation programs.
5. The college of Education trains many of the State's teachers and the bulk of the teachers
  in Austin district.
6. It includes extending research of the most effective methods of teaching English to Spanish-
  speaking children.
U Issues in Japan
1. Some similar ideals of UT "K-16 Initiative"
 There are very few cases of using the same ideals of UT "K-16 Initiative" in Japan now. For
 instance, Okazaki Senior High School has connected with tbe National Joint Research Mechanism
 in Okazaki city. When the students receive the lessons of the Mechanism,they will be able to
 get regular units from the school. Some similar cases exist in other prefectures. However,
 unlike the U-T Plan, they are not supported by the universities as a whole, but only supported
 by some departments.
2. Branch school of Department of Education of Universiy
 There are at least a branch elementary, junior and senior high school of Department of Education
 on National University in Japan and they educate the students and also do research on some
 educational issues. However, they don't have capacities for retraining many teachers, particulary
 in Math and Science. And the schools are a little different from the charter school designed by the
 UT Program, for they don't accept students of low scholastic attainments or low-income families.
 So, I think a new charter school might be better in the future in Japan.
3. Standard tests
There are no official standard tests of academic subjects for elementary, junior and senior high
schools regulary executed by a local government or National Government.

However, people are able to know about the scholastic scores of almost all junior high students.
Some major private cramschools execute their common tests of subjects several times a year.
They receive the tests and can see the scores. Also their home-room teachers can see these
scores. Of course, the purpose of the tests is to let the students prepare for the entrance exam
of their high schools. In fact the results are availabe for the students and the junior high schools.

As for high school students, this process is almost as the same as junior high students. Major
preschools exuecute their common tests several times a year nationwide to let the students to
preparae for the entrance exam of colleges or universities. These test scores are made available
to the students and their senior high schools.
Therefore, the standard tests by Governments are not needed for the junior or senior high students
and their schools so much in Japan. However, these tests are not compulsory for the students,
particualry for the senior high students, so some problems still remain.

In Japan, there are not a charter school and I think the main reason is not controlled by the official
standard tests by the Governments. I will expect the tests are regulated by the Governments.
4. Guidelines of Course of Study
There are the Guidelies of Course of Study: "Gakushu Shido Yoryo" of Elementary, Junior and Senior
high schoos ruled by the National Government in Japan. The Guidelines describe about the subjects,
hours, units, standard arrangements of the subjects, school days or some other points of teaching
the subjects for the teachers in classrooms in detail. And some parts are only guidelines for them,
but some parts are the rules, and sometimes these are more or less unclear for the educators.

Therefore, I think the National Government had better change the Guidelines to be more simple
and clear.
    Described on May 25, 2002
In addition ( Described on September 3, 2002)
The Early High School Graduation Program in Texas

Thnak you for the informations from Dan Langan: Press Secretary Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Educ. Josh Benton:Dallas Morning News and Ray Grasshoff :Assistant Director
Governmental Relation/Public Information Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
I will summarize some keypoints as follows:
 No time for vacation: School's in session Enterprising students
  chalk up A's instead of catching Z's

Texas offers incentives to students to attend summer school and graduate early. Students who
complete high school in three years are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship administered by the Texas
Higher Education Coordinating Board.

●  Interest has grown since the scholarship was created in 1993. In 2001, for instance, 4,174
  students received the scholarships. In 1996, 765 students received them.

●  "Obviously, the purpose of the scholarship is to encourage them to go on to college," said Jane
  Caldwell, the coordinating board's director of grants and special programs. "In part, it was to reward
  those students who are really motivated and moving through high school quickly."

●The Early High School Graduation Program allows students who complete the normal four years
 of high school in only three years to get as much as $1,000 to pay for college tuition. This is an
 incentive for good students to complete high school quickly

( Comments) In Japan, high school usually cover grade 10 through grade 12 ( students who are
         approximately 15 to 18 years of age) in three years, so they have to make a new
         rule for smart students to go to colleges or universities in two years.