The suit filed by two British language teachers against the operator of Shane English School Japan for unfair dismissal reveals a disturbing trend in education. Yet it is entirely predictable in light of the new realities in teaching.
Despite their membership in the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union, Chris Beardshall and Adam Cleeve now find themselves without a paycheck and without unemployment benefits. They are not alone. For non-Japanese language teachers, low wages and unstable working conditions continue, with little hope for improvement on the near horizon.
The situation in the United States for teachers in charter schools and private schools is equally dismal. Although teaching students is supposed to be the core mission of education at all levels, the reality is that tenure for teachers, which protects creativity, is increasingly becoming an anachronism. At the same time, teachers' unions are losing their clout. Virtually all charter schools are nonunion, as are almost all private and religious schools