[Earlier: ATLANTIC: “Japan Might be What Equality in Education Looks Like”]
Commenter American in Japan writes:
I have worked in the Japanese public school system for about 8 years. The schools here are successful, but the reason is the extreme testing and strict behavior guidelines mean that the schools push the dangerous/difficult kids in the lowest tier of schools, which are overstaffed to compensate for the problem students. These kinds of schools have two vice principals, two homeroom teachers per homeroom, and the discipline room staff has massively built gym teachers on point at all times. They call these schools “suffering schools” and regard them as bulwarks against chaos. These schools are crazy tough to teach at, but the rest of the system works like a dream. There are minorities here by the way, but the problem is so sensitive it is kind of taboo to talk about it.
The concept of having massively built gym teachers, or assistant football coaches, who live to put punks in their places run the detention room is standard operating procedure in most private schools in America, but seems to have gotten lost in many American public schools. Perhaps because detentions can generate a paper trail that the federal government can sue over the disparate impact of. So standard policy is increasingly to push all discipline down to the classroom teachers to handle without leaving much of a paper trail. Some are good at this through force of personality. Others, often the more intellectual ones, are not so hot at it. Trump, for example, would be a great classroom disciplinarian teacher. Me, not so much.
Also, having professional thick-necked disciplinarians on staff suggests a potential career path to troublemaking student bullies that can help recruit them over to the side of order: instead of pushing kids around to cause anarchy, when I grow up I could get paid to push kids around to keep order. Sounds interesting …