A “community” that eliminates “privateness” is often compared with “publicness” that makes the most of “privateness.” Comparisons assuming a difference between “privateness” and “publicness” cannot show the generative correlation between them. Through the mutual becoming of different generations, people grow mature together. People who have grown mature in this way jointly produce “publicness.” Through the mutual becoming of different generations, the asymmetry between preceding generations and subsequent generations changes to symmetry. Thus publicness is generated. “Publicness” is a “movement” generated through education as the mutual becoming of different generations, rather than a particular “state.” Publicness, educational publicness, and the publicness that connects generations all belong to the same generative movement. Seen from the viewpoint of education, publicness is always “generative publicness.” The older generation seeks to find a proper response to the younger generation’s situation of mixed dependence and independence. If this is accomplished, both generations attain maturity as autonomy. Publicness is a product of mutual becoming among different generations. Publicness is a generative movement which activates and brings all members up to autonomy. Even people who cannot participate in verbal communication should be integrated into the communication that makes up publicness. How can people with verbal ability successfully communicate with people who do not have a means of verbal communication of past, present, and future? In other words, how can a wide and rich generative publicness be generated? Generative publicness is formed by the response of the people with verbal ability to those who do not have a means of verbal communication. Educational publicness is a product of the mutual becoming of teaching generations and learning generations. It is at the same time a product of the mutual becoming of teachers and learners, of teachers, of researchers, and of educational practitioners. Let us look back on the theory construction process of Akira Mori (a leading scholar of pedagogy in postwar Japan) in order to think about educational publicness as a product of the mutual becoming of researchers and practitioners. Mori took part in the huge collective postwar work of trying to make a theory of education and generate educational publicness, and eventually moved away from it. He also showed the direction of a new theoretical development aiming to generate “generative publicness” before he passed away. Mori fought desperately to repair the rift of specialization in the industrial society system which is overly specialized. His theory on educational publicness and generative publicness is an outcome of his struggle. Learners, teachers, educational practitioners and researchers should cooperate with one another. Then generative publicness is genereated, and educational publicness and the publicness that connects generations are able to appear. However, collaboration is very difficult to achieve in the situation of fragmented specialization. The only way to fix the rift is “half body stance (Hanmi no Kamae)” in which you set foot in both divisions. Generative publicness can be organized with the cooperation of the people with this half body stance.
Research questions on what the public nature of education is and how it could be constructed have been one of the most urgent issues of education research and other fields of social science since the privatization of public education became explicit under the neo-liberal education reforms. To construct and secure the public nature of education, a number of researchers have focused on the roles and responsibilities of the national government while they criticize the theory of the “people’s right to education” on the reason of that it has not constructed proper governmental action. These researchers insist that the government should mandate a national common curriculum to secure the public nature of education and that the content of the curriculum should be based on the values and principles of the Constitution of Japan. These researchers have tended to demand a strong governmental role in public education because their concern is to prevent the privatization or fragmentation among the people, including parents and students. Contradicting to these arguments, the author focused on a different phenomenon of the privatization in education, which has become quite visible since the establishment of the second Abe administration; the “privatization of education policy.” The author analyzed the “privatization of education policy” from the following three dimensions: 1) privatization of policy-making bodies, 2) privatization of educational purpose, and 3) privatization of school system. Through the analysis of these three dimensions, it was found that education policy has become much more “un-public” and “un-educational,” while it has promoted the interests of big business or the privileged class. From the viewpoint of the “privatization of education policy,” it was indicated that the way to secure the public nature of education was to control governmental power so that education policy could not be privatized, not to free its power. To construct the public nature of education, and to make education policy more “public,” the author inquired into the welfare state model to delineate the proper role and responsibility of the national government in public education. Although the welfare state model has been criticized because of its paternalistic aspect onto the public education, it should be noted that the model has another aspect to secure the national minimum standard of the public education for all students. To overcome these contradicting aspects of the welfare state model, the author focused on the theory of the “school institutional standard,” which demands a governmental role in maintaining the systemic framework of public education. By focusing on the educational system (public funding for school facilities, number of teachers and class size, requirements for graduation et al.), the welfare state model could secure the state responsibility for public education while preventing paternal intervention into the content of education. It is needed to force the national government into securing the educational system, so that governmental power cannot be privatized or used privately.
The change of the Japanese voting age from 20 to 18 due to the amendment of the Public Office Election Act on June 17, 2015 has significant influence on people’s interest in taking part in social activities. Today, as the phase of participation and action plays a much more important role in politics and education, the function and meaning of publicness are facing new challenges in each field. Based on such social changes, this paper proposes new fundamental viewpoints for reexamining publicness, especially the publicness of the curriculum in the age of global education reforms moving from contents- to competence-based school curricula. Institutionalizing the people’s informal dimension of democracy, for example, conversation, debate, and deliberation, contemporary political theories and practices such as Deliberation Day, deliberative polls, citizens’ juries, consensus conferences and planning cells carry great expectations for the promotion of ordinary citizens’ direct participation in social action and the raising of moral and intellectual consciousness of citizenship in the public spheres. It is also required that the voices and opinions of citizens as sovereigns be more reflected in politics in order to improve the function of “representative” democracy. In school education, as in politics, education policies cast a more positive new light on problem-solving learning and active learning, so that the acquiring of generic skills and competence rather than the learning of “representative” knowledge is needed in response to political education in a global era. As the result of learners taking more education and training as a direct way to socialization, the distance between what is taught and what they learn decreases gradually. Both representative knowledge and politics are subjected to many criticisms because educational and political reforms seem to go better without the opaque and uncertain mediation of representation. Contemporary policy trends in politics and education give clear explanations accounting for why they don’t need the concept of “representation.” However, the function and operation of representation in politics and education has never disappeared even though there is apparent transparence between people and politics and learners and education. To reconsider the question more closely, this article takes two approaches: 1) from the educational perspectives characterized by the politics of education in the U.S. since the 1980s, and 2) from the recent political perspectives including the agonistic, the deliberative, and the realistic concepts, in the dilemma between representative and participatory democracy.
In this paper, the publicness of the state educational system is to be considered focusing on the social phenomenon of parental school choice. How many people currently choose schools in contemporary Japan and what sorts of action are they trying to take for their children? On the other hand, under what conditions are those who don’t choose schools, especially those who are called “minorities,” situated? These questions are to be examined based on empirical data. Firstly, the historical transition from “meritocracy” to “parentocracy” in advanced countries is considered in order to understand the social context in which contemporary Japanese society is located. There, education as private goods is emphasized as a means for people to lead a more prosperous life, rather than education as public goods, which means a common value basis for people. Secondly, the widening educational achievement gap of children is investigated to understand the hardship with which state schools in Japan are faced at the moment. The achievement gaps between schools located in prosperous areas and those located in poor areas have been rapidly expanding. Thirdly, the issue of parental school choice is examined in two aspects. One is the choice of private primary and secondary schools and the other is the school choice system within a given region. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, many people have been choosing private schools for several decades, but the trend has been expanding to other areas. Also, a school choice system among state schools has existed in certain regions since 2000. Fourthly, the educational situation of minority people such as children in poverty, “newcomer” children and children with handicaps is reported. It can be summarized that the existence of the people who choose schools has become obvious in contemporary Japan. At the same time, neo-liberal educational reforms have been launching without a break in these two decades, seeming to erode the essential components of the state educational system in Japan. An open and common state educational system in a new age should be reconstructed which doesn’t favor a particular social class or a social group.
The purpose of this paper is to locate education in the vast realm of life security. The challenge of education-welfare, by definition, is to secure the connection between life security and education. This paper examines the history of education-welfare in post-war Japan, from the 1950s to this time in the 21st century. It is clear that the connection between life security and education has become weaker and weaker. We think it is possible to redefine the crisis of publicness in education from that perspective. First, we found that in the 1950s the local public education authorities in Japan invented many devices to combat non-attendance and truancy problems. Among them were the creation of night classes in junior high schools, and the appointment of the Fukushi Kyouin, who were welfare educators dealing with non-attendant and truant students from the Buraku communities in Kochi Prefecture. Some Fukushi Kyouin not only helped students in need but advised local people about productive activities to directly improve their life conditions. But it is also important to note that Fukushi Kyouin did not think it easy to cause life improvement as a result of education. As time went by, in the 1980s and 1990s, while the problem of student non-attendance attracted much public attention again, the public education sector did little except relying on “free schools” in the private sector. This phase may be called the time of diffusion in education-welfare. It is partly because the capacity of educators and schools to influence productive activities decreased further and further due to urbanization and bureaucratization. Finally, we point out the “marginalization of education itself,” due to the trends of the aging population and the lower birthrate, as an integral part of the crisis of publicness in education as well. When the priority of education-welfare declined in life security, the possibility of education to contribute to life security also declined.
This paper attempts to show the actual situation of the academic achievement gap among social classes by analyzing the results of previous research using panel data on academic achievement in mathematics. This type of research is still extremely rare in Japan, so it is anticipated to be valuable research material. In addition, through this analysis, we can glimpse the implications for academic achievement research in the future. From the year 2000 onward, there has been considerable research into “academic achievement” which tries to positively clarify the relationship between academic achievement and social class in Japan. Although this previous research has pointed out that the academic achievement gap occurs at an early stage of education, in Japan there is less data (panel data) which tracks students’ academic achievements; thus it is still unclear whether this academic achievement gap is widening through compulsory education. So based on previous research conducted abroad, this paper attempts to analyze the changes in children’s academic achievement gaps in Japan. Also, in the context of research on meritocracy, the correlation of academic achievement and effort (learning hours) through analyzing cross-sectional data that was collected from one point research has been pointed out. But cross-sectional data does not clarify the relationships between academic achievement and study time for individual changes. Also, we could not conduct any analysis with elimination of “unobserved heterogeneity”. This paper tries to clarify these problems by using panel data and analysis through the fixed effect model and random effect model. The panel data used in this paper were collected in the Kanto and Tohoku regions from 2003 through 2010. The research focused on the 3rd and 6th grades in elementary school and 3rd year in junior high school and used the academic achievement in mathematics and questionnaires. The results of this analysis, clarify three points. These are: 1) The academic achievement gap does not change; 2) The academic achievement gap can be seen as that between children whose parents have university degrees and children whose parents do not, as the former can maintain much higher academic achievement; 3) The results of eliminating “unobserved heterogeneity” still show that individual effort has an independently positive effect on academic achievement.