Involving classroom teachers in the process of reviewing textbooks under consideration for use in public schools should be a no-brainer. After all, they know far better than pressure groups what students need to learn. It's here that Japan demonstrates far more common sense than the United States.

Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology allows teachers to review which textbooks are adopted. It may not be a perfect system, as evidenced by the latest dust up, but it is far superior to the situation in the U.S.

When 818 public school teachers in Japan received monetary or other rewards from publishers for providing feedback on textbooks undergoing government screening, the practice caused an outcry even though no evidence emerged that anything unethical happened. Although professional expertise is worthy of compensation, the process was called into question because of the remuneration offered in exchange for services rendered.