The education committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Thursday approved a plan that will lead to the city’s public school teachers being paid according to performance, rather than experience. The scheme, to go into effect with the start of the school year in April, aims to boost teaching quality and morale among teachers. While Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara supports the change, the Tokyo Teachers’ Union calls the system a “historical outrage” and claims such evaluations will not necessarily reflect good teaching and will disrupt the atmosphere of cooperation among teachers. “This form of evaluation will not lead to improved teaching,” said union official Yosuke Kodama. Ishihara disagreed. “All companies and organizations evaluate the performance of people who work there,” he said, “and we are talking about school teachers who have our children under their charge.” According to the plan, teachers will meet with the principal and superintendent three times a year — first to set the year’s objectives, second to revise the goals, and finally to evaluate their performance. Teachers will be ranked according to ability, enthusiasm and performance record, in areas such as instruction, career guidance, school management and extracurricular activities. The director of the local board of education will then use these evaluations to judge whether a teacher is being appropriately paid. The teachers’ union, which collected some 31,000 signatures of teachers opposing the system Wednesday, asserts the system will prevent teachers from reporting problems and seeking help, and will place even more pressure on students to get better grades. Kodama said the teachers’ union plans to continue campaigning to drum up support against the system among teachers, principals and parents before it takes effect.
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