the July 7 editorial “Education plan without guts“: It’s ironic that whenever any country ostensibly decides to make education a top priority the issue of teacher pay somehow always gets short shrift. Japan serves as further evidence.

When the Cabinet recently adopted the basic education promotion plan, it called for reducing teachers’ salaries, which are (gasp) higher than those of administrative civil servants. In any other field, taking this action would be considered tantamount to sabotage. But because those involved are teachers rather than other professionals, Japan has no qualms.

This strategy mirrors the paradox of education reform. While teachers overall are not motivated by the same set of incentives shaping behavior in other areas of human endeavor, their dedication should not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness to be taken advantage of by the Cabinet.

walt gardner