The aim of this research is to present a viewpoint relativizing discussions of conflict between the public and private spheres over children’s education in the current context of the modern schooling system premised on public education, and to explore the strategy of restructuring the public nature of education. The analysis focuses on educational discussions on ideal common schooling in the pluralistic societies of the United States and the United Kingdom. This study clarifies the idea of realization of a comprehensive ideal, and how the idea for its realization was created.
In the introduction, after clarifying the aims of this paper, I consider educational law trends in Japan. I point out that the “Act to Guarantee Access to Supplementary Learning to Insufficient Compulsory Education Due to Absenteeism” compels us to consideration beyond the traditional educational thinking.
In the second section, I confirm the concept of common schooling and review previous educational research on the publicity of education. In some research, I see trends of reconsideration of the publicity of education. One indicates the need to relativize the public/private viewpoints. Another considers systems or logic to accommodate both public and private interests.
In the third section, I consider the controversy about home schooling of the 2000s in the United States. Supporters of home schooling emphasize the proof of home-schoolers' high achievements, and expect the home school movement to have the potential to revise the educational system. However, critics emphasize negative effects, and point out the need to protect public interests from private ones. I add a third concept to these, the idea of reconciliation between public schools and home-schooling families.
In the fourth section, I consider the difficulty of realizing the ideal of comprehensiveness. In the philosophy of education of the United Kingdom, some researchers are skeptical about the realization of this comprehensive ideal. They show another way to realize the liberal ideal, which aims to integrate through segregated schools.
In the final section, I confirm that some philosophers have been emphasizing family values in recent years, and so reconsider methods of accommodating public and private interests. I conclude that it is important for family members to develop a participatory mentality, to which end civic education is an effective method.
In December 2016, the Japanese Diet passed the Act to Guarantee Access to Education. The supporters of “free” (alternative) schools had first begun lobbying for this legislature, followed by activists supporting night junior high schools (yakan chugakko), who threw their lot in with them. This case was very important because a very powerful argument to radically re-conceptualize public education was provided from the peripheral areas of the public school system. However, the finally endorsed law differs strikingly from the earlier drafts in many crucial points, and those concerned with this legislation have sharply criticized the modifications. This article especially focuses on the question of why the earlier title, the “Act to Guarantee Diverse Access to Education,” was altered to omit the word “diverse”. Based on the ideas of the American historian/sociologist of education David F. Labaree, this case is interpreted as a process in which the formalism of education defeated the substantialism, and as a triumph of the view that sees public education as a private good, the educational consumer view, over that which sees it as a public good.
This paper discusses the design of an educational finance system that supports new and diverse education suppliers. The focus is on the systems of finance and quality assurance, the latter of which includes accreditation, audit, and evaluation. A close relationship between the two systems is observed in analysis, which can be described by using two different models. One is a support and control method that allocates educational resources for controlling educational activities; the other is a checks-and-balances method that controls the freedom and accountability of teachers and schools. These models show that the systems of finance and quality assurance are mutually dependent, and that their relationship has the potential to construct a future framework of public education.
The allocation of educational resources based on a support and control method is observed in several foreign countries. For example, a strict external evaluation model for academies is utilized in England to ensure the educational quality represented by the test scores. Similarly, a strict input-control model for legislated alternative schools is adopted in South Korea, sometimes limiting the educational content. Elsewhere, a checks-and-balances model is utilized in the Netherlands, where the external evaluation system adopts various standards made by both external evaluators and teachers.
A system guaranteeing publicness and accepting diversity must ensure the education of children who cannot adjust to existing schools. First, this system calls for a checks-and-balances model in terms of quality assurance. Teachers should participate in the design of an evaluation system that assesses diverse aspects of education, in order to be sure that they will explore new educational methods and activities. Second, the system of fiscal allocation for new and diverse education suppliers needs to be a dual system separated from the existing public schools. In the new finance system, we calculate the allocation amount per child, and allocate it to each school per head based on the number of children. The system also needs to allow each school financial autonomy. These systems will permit us to secure the public nature of the new and diverse education suppliers.
In Japan, we secure the public nature of public education by operating the finance system based on standards for educational conditions. Though this system's advantages include a guaranteed stable budget and quality assurance, it is not highly compatible with the public nature. Therefore, a new system based on a new framework is clearly necessary. Though it is not so easy due to the path-sensitivity of existing systems, a drastic process is indispensable to change the idea of public nature. A simple but effective method is to verify the outcome of pilot programs.
If the above systems are accepted and new education suppliers expand to some extent, they may serve as references in the reformation of existing public schools. This may lead to a public educational system that creates new values.
This paper examines the crossroads free schools face today, as the Educational Opportunity Law has passed. The public education system is involved in complicated problems, including the necessity of coping with the socio-economic gap of educational opportunity and the increasing demands to develop children's competency to handle globalization. In this situation, political attention is being paid to free schools as a possible way to solve these educational problems. In the near future, free schools may be recognized as public compulsory education. To correct social injustice, according to Fraser, we need both the perspectives of redistribution and recognition, in other words socio-economic practices and symbolic change.
Many approaches to alternative education emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. The free school movement, mainly directed at children not attending other schools, has continued to this day. According to reports of national research data on free schools, many are small in size, enabling holistic educational practices. On the other hand, their practices are hard to understand from outside. In the present situation, it is difficult for many schools to associate with free schools.
Recently, the creation of a peer-review system for free schools has been proposed. This is a movement to integrate alternative education into the public education system, involving financial support and governance under public control. The free school movement is inevitably to be entangled in the trends of assessment and marketization.
In December 2016, the “Act on Securing Educational Opportunities Equivalent to Ordinary Education at the Stage of Compulsory Education” was established. In this paper, I discuss chronologically the legislative process of the act and organize the main points in deliberation and the main actors involved. This process constitutes an effort to grasp the meaning of the process and discussion of the Act in Japan.
The legislative process can be divided into three stages.
1st stage: January 2009 to June 2014, “Proposal for an Act on Securing Various Educational Opportunities for Children,” created by the Japanese Network of Free Schools.
2nd stage: June 2014 to February 2016, “Act on Securing Educational Opportunities Equivalent to Ordinary Education at the Stage of Compulsory Education,” established by the Parliamentary Association for Free Schools and Parliamentary Association for Night Junior High Schools, aiming to approve various learning sites outside the school system.
3rd stage: February 2016 to December 2016, “Act on Securing Educational Opportunities Equivalent to Ordinary Education at the Stage of Compulsory Education” established by both Parliamentary Associations, aiming to support children absent from school and their parents.
The Proposal created by the Japanese Network of Free Schools was based on the rights of children, seeking the introduction of alternative education to the public education system beyond the measures against school absenteeism. However, when the proposal was brought into the political arena, the Act was established as a measure against school absenteeism and as a part of a framework of human development and social investment policies.
The actors involved in establishing the Act are divided into four positions: (1) market-oriented deregulation: minorities within the Liberal Democratic Party (diversification of education, human resources development), (2) diversification of learning sites from the viewpoint of children's rights: Japanese Network of Free Schools and Democratic Party (diversification of education, children's rights), (3) collective education: Communist Party and Social Democratic Party (common education, children's rights), (4) national integration: majority within the Liberal Democratic Party (common education, social integration). In the process of establishing the act, the position (2) linked to (1), revealing an opposing axis between the diversification of education (deregulation) and common education.
Finally, the Act was established as a measure for absentee students. This process indicates the difficulty involved in going beyond schools.
Evening classes at public junior high schools have been positioned as a peripheral domain of the educational system until recently. However, they have now been legitimized as a system and will become a standard provision of mainstream education. For people associated with these evening classes, the major shift from “tacit approval” to “expansion” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology signifies the culmination of a long-standing wish. At the same time, a number of people have voiced their concerns about the loss of educational values cultivated thus far.
In this paper, I discuss the recent trends associated with the legislation surrounding evening classes and describe the development of initiatives, interactions, and conflicts among the officials involved in the administration of these classes. I suggest several points that should be considered when offering evening classes to the wider society post-legislation in order to answer the following questions: How are they trying to create new initiatives? How are they managing the classes and the schools? How are they providing practical support to learners?
The Zenkoku Yakan Chūgakkō Kenkyū-kai (National Evening Junior High School Conference) constitutes the core of the movement for legislation on evening classes, which has been promoted by students, graduates, retired teachers, and people participating in voluntary evening classes. Despite being one of the highest priorities in the establishment of the legal position of evening classes, the issue of formal graduation has been relegated to the background. The negotiation process with legislators advanced under “uniform diplomacy in all quarters” to focus on the government's compulsory education provision as a human resource development policy and a human right. Finally, the requests by people associated with evening classes were recognized as largely legitimate, including the issue of formal graduation.
The following four points were presented as major issues to be resolved after legislation. First, could evening classes become the basis for a reorganization of school education? With no changes in school education, it is feared that the education system may be reorganized to make use of evening classes as a method to paper over various problems of the wider system. Second, to ensure that this does not happen, it will be necessary to postpone the widespread development of evening classes until after the legislation while the evening class movement integrates its values and ideas. Third, it is expected that in areas with no facilities, voluntary evening classes will play a greater role than other organizations. Voluntary evening classes are driving the expansion of the evening class movement, and at the same time, are a way of continuing to investigate solutions to learners' needs. Fourth, based on the above, it is important to explore the organization of a basic educational security system with evening classes at the core. It is essential to incorporate literacy classes in discriminated-against communities as well as local Japanese language classes in order to utilize the joint council prescribed by the Act of Ensuring Educational Opportunity, as a mechanism to ensure the local governance of basic educational security.