November 21, 2005


Why the United States Should Look to Japan for Better Schools (BRENT STAPLES, 11/21/05, NY Times)

Japan (CIA World Factbook)

Ethnic groups: Japanese 99%, others 1%

You don't often see the Times recommend ethnic homogeneity, even implicitly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2005 9:15 AM

How do test scores of Japanese immigrants compare to those of Japanese in Japan?

I suspect they're the same or better. (Which is also meaningless, the two groups still aren't comparable).

Also note that Japan has, IIRC, a much higher teen suicide rate than the US.

Posted by: Mike Earl at November 21, 2005 11:10 AM

99% Japanese perhaps, but they do have an
"almost untouchable" class descended from leatherworkers. Despite the segregation that this causes, it must not be a problem with their educational system overall.

Posted by: afhebert at November 21, 2005 11:16 AM

Are they out of recession yet?

Get that education, works so well in France.....

Posted by: Sandy P at November 21, 2005 12:20 PM

I don't know if it's still true, but in the 80s Japanese high school grads were the equivalent of American college grads.

However, the Japanese of the 80s saw college as a time to relax after busting their hump in high school to get into a good college, so Japanese college grads were ALSO the equivalent of American college grads.

Besides, what does it matter if any nation turns out little Einsteins, if they never apply their knowledge, at least not in their home country ?

America doesn't train a lot of engineers, in comparison to Asian nations, but America still leads the world in technical innovation and bleeding-edge experimentation - and has for over seventy years now.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 22, 2005 2:55 AM

That was never true and if the Japanese were turning out geniuses there'd be novels, music, inventions, etc. to show it.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2005 6:19 AM

*Seventy* years? I'm not an historian of technology, but my sense is that until WWII, Germany (and probably Britain) were considerably more prominent as centers of technological innovation. Ballistic missiles, Jet engines, etc. I mean, we got the atom bomb, but even then, our bomb was designed, in large part, by people who had originally worked in a German (or Central European) system -- people like Bethe or Szilard or Teller. Really, I think it's about 60 years or so, isn't it? And a large part of that is our success in attracting the best and the brightest from abroad to work here in corporate R&D or academic research. Our PhD programs, for example, feature massive overrepresentation of people whose basic training was undertaken in a foreign educational system, and a large number of them stick around here afterwards, since our jobs pay better than back home.

Posted by: Taeyoung at November 22, 2005 6:28 AM

"How do test scores of Japanese immigrants compare to those of Japanese in Japan?"

What do you mean by "immigrants?" Japan has very, very few foreigners living there, and probably even fewer being educated in their schools. The exception, probably, would be Chinese and Koreans descended from the Chinese and Koreans who were brought in as workers, when Japan occupied Korea and parts of China, or who went to Japan at that time to study (like my great uncle). And their scores are extremely low.

On the other hand, if you mean Japanese immigrants living abroad, i.e. *here*, then sure, they're high.

Posted by: Taeyoung at November 22, 2005 6:31 AM

Yes, a large part of American success lies in getting non-Americans to want to become Americans, or at least to work for American interests, but that's a valid and well-trod path to societal success.
Although it's a bit more fragile than an all-organic approach, it also can result in exponential growth or achievement, similar to turning a privately-held company into a publicly traded company.

My "70 year" guess was intended to be conservative.

If you look at world-changing people and projects like Edison, Bell, Ford, the Wright Bros., the Panama Canal, and the Palomar Observatory, they were all pre-WW II, and most pre-WW I.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 23, 2005 4:41 AM