The Japanese Finance Ministry's request to increase the number of students in each class to save ¥8.6 billion in personnel costs will result in 3,325 schools being shuttered and up to 4,000 teachers cashiered. The proposal is being defended as fiscally necessary, even though it is detrimental to student learning.

But there's another side of the story that warrants consideration.

The controversy is whether decreased funding, which will invariably cause increased class size, is the only way to proceed. It's not that smaller classes won't allow teachers to provide more individualized attention to their students. Of course it will.