What does the student believe they get they out of it? The pathway from school to job is nebulous to young kids who don't yet need money to live. As kids get older and gain knowledge but not respect or autonomy, the school to job pathway looks more and more arbitrary and unnecessary (the common question of "But when am I actually going to use this?" I remember hearing often in school).
Maybe there's the benefit of finding friends, but now they have the internet from a young age, and I think the social justification has evaporated. Why bother forming friend circles with people you must talk to, when you can find friend circles from a larger pool with people you want to talk to?
For many (most?) kids, it doesn't seem like they, individually, have a reason to go to school. Instead, their parents have a reason and the kids' only reason is to not anger their parents.
Even as an adult, If I could do it all again, I would avoid school as much as possible.
School is an upgrade from child labor, but I now have enough experience to know it's a downgrade from what I can learn of my own.
Not saying every kid should do the same of course.
But personnally, after being in 11 schools, including fancy private ones and ones in poor neighbourhoods, I found extremly few decent teachers, a very violent and boring environment, and a culture that killed the best things in young minds while promoting unfairness.
And while I was often top of my class, I didn't learn much. Took me 3 months to learn to read, a bit more to write and count, and after that, everything was just more fun to learn alone than in the depressive and repressive jail of school.
Also, I don't miss having to fight for social acceptance, the bullying, the stress and pressure nor the hypocrisy of the ones in charge. All at an age I didn't have yet the skill and knowldge to deal with it.
Ironically this is somehow the most valuable lessons learned during school, since you ultimately have to deal with this shit throughout your life in most career paths. So at least you got prepared for that.
In normal life, groups (Work, Family, social gatherings) are of mixed age, mixed experience, mixed rank. To become a better person, I had to forget the pettiness of High School social dynamics.
This. Whenever people ask about "socialization" WRT home-schooling, I always tell people that you never any social situation like you do in school -- where:
1) Everyone is exactly the same age
2) Nobody chose to be there
3) People have little chance to change their situation
4) There are very few consequences for poor behavior.
At your work, if someone is being a bully, then either management will fire them, or you can look for another job. At school, you have to almost murder somebody to actually be expelled, and most kids have very limited ability to change schools or classes if they're unhappy.
... or you figure out how to deal with conflict like an adult. If your way of handling conflict is firing people or taking your ball and going home, your long-term outlook is not so good.
Working with people in a system is a skill that you figure out by being exposed to other people and dealing with their crap. If you've worked with military veterans, maintaining focus on what you need to do while navigating insane systems and coworkers is a core skill that they usually have.
Its the nuclear option, and it is commonly executed. Ex: Internet forums, Dungeon Mastering, various social events, etc. etc.
* The group-leader of most social groups can effectively say "We're not hanging out with you anymore" by refusing invitations.
* Bosses at jobs can fire people.
* Dungeon Masters can outright refuse play against problematic players.
* Moderators of forums (ex: even YCombinator) can silence any party and ban them.
Etc. etc. etc. The "real world" dynamics have the implicit threat of excommunication from any group. The threat of excommunication is the fundamental political weapon of most social groups.
Is this tool used often? No, of course not. But the tool is available in every realistic social setting for a reason. We humans are social animals, and humans who refuse to play ball socially deserve to be ostracized from the group.
Not all groups are worthwhile, and many groups are toxic. So the alternative here is also keeping the ability to change groups (move sideways within a company, or find new dungeon masters or basketball friends, or whatever).
The first tool exists in schools (the "boss", the school principle and teachers, have the ability to suspend or expel students). The second tool: the ability to move schools, doesn't really exist for most people.
Another essential skill is learning to recognize when you should remove yourself from a toxic environment for your own sake.
That's a very rosy view. It's premised on either an enlightened management who gives a crap if someone's being a bully (many don't, or are themselves the bullies) or people having the option to willy nilly quit a job because someone was a bully to them.
That might be true for a developer in some cushy job when IT is on demand.
It's not true for a huge majority of people who need their jobs and can't just jump ship if someone's being a bully or they're treated badly, etc...
So, up until not-so-many-decades-ago, your statement was incorrect. It is correct now, and indeed the schooling system has not caught up, but it is doing so slowly - e.g. the Finnish led, and others are following, in abolishing the "forced labor" homework requirement.
It looks like this: https://imgur.com/gallery/YiqlS
Without the fun of it
Sorry, bad metaphor, too extreme. Nobody can do or imagine doing that.
As for the sword cartoon you linked to: there was nothing better than getting my first Boy Scout knife. Within a few days I had blooded my blade by cutting myself, thereby learning new respect for a tool that lasted decades. My experience is that every boy cuts himself once with his pocket knife, and then begins to pay attention to what he is doing with it(1). Every child should be given a pocket knife at the appropriate age.
I liked school. I learned all the basics there. The teachers wanted to help me.
I saw only one case of physical bullying in 24 years of school. I was never bullied, perhaps being too tall and too willing to engage people in conversation.
Most discussions of bullying bring out old grievances that should have been dealt with long since and then forgotten. But they often merely fester. That's a shame.
(1) it's like the "hand in the fire" thing. I remember the first time I put my hand over the stove flame - the picture of it remains in my head! Wow, was that ever a lesson! Do that with a neural net!
Yes, being a tall extravert will discourage bullying. I was 4'8" when I started 7th grade, but 5'10" when I started 9th grade, so I saw the difference rather drastically. (FWIW I was personally physically bullied well more than the one time you witnessed, and I was nowhere near the most bullied kid in school).
From your experience, associating schooling with bullying is probably foreign. From my experience, I can't imagine anyone going through school without witnessing more than one act of physical bullying, because all forms of bullying were so omnipresent. Perhaps the term "Umwelt" applies here.
As physical bullying has become less socially accepted, the harms of non-physical bullying may have surpassed the harms of physical bullying today. I know many kids who were driven to self-harm from non-physical bullying. There was a teacher who would bully certain students causing them to drop out of the advanced math track (she was the only HS teacher teaching the 10th grade requirement for the track).
> >" putting your hand in it[fire] for 20 years"?
> Sorry, bad metaphor, too extreme. Nobody can do or imagine doing that.
I think, for some kids, it's not too much of an exaggeration, which is exactly why many kids drop out of school. I have heard stories of (and personally witnessed one) bullied kids jumping out of moving vehicles to avoid going to school.
I think for most kids, public schooling is "okay" for some it's great, but for many others, calling it institutionalized torture is not much of a stretch.
I have little doubt that (height) matters: it puts off males who have even begun to challenge me if I stretch out my arms in even the most non-threatening manner. Seeing that someone can reach you a full foot before you can reach them may put off aggression.
I had two classmates who were significantly shorter. Their personalities contrasted: one was confrontational and aggressive, often got into fights and did not do nearly as well as the other who was quiet, studious and was the first boy I knew who had a hobby: I was astonished how much knowledge he had acquired from collecting postage stamps.
I was aware that these classmates were physically vulnerable but I could only help by being a friend. In general, the shorter men I have met tend to excel in professional life.
I still think the "hand in fire" metaphor is too far-fetched. The best I've seen is someone putting a hand over a candle for about 30 seconds. He was drunk (which may account for the time) yet withdrew his hand voluntarily before others could intervene.
I say this as someone who was regularly bullied through primary school.
Social dynamics are important, and you learn best through experiencing it. If it's as bad for you as you are implying, that is a massive failure on the schools part and that sucks you went through it.
It's not like absence of school meant kids would just be alone in their homes...
In the village I grew up in the out-of-school friend groups were often across several years of age; and that's from a background of schooling.
Kids I know now, that are non-schooled, have very broad age-groups of friends and seem, to me, to be much more comfortable with company of any age.
I am sure there has to be a more human way to learn to deal with this.
Never fought for social acceptance, just kind of fell into place. Actively pursuing it would exhaust energy that could otherwise be directed to productive or fun activities.
Stress, pressure, and hypocrisy seem like natural occurrences. But yeah, unless someone has 0 responsibilities (work, life, family, hobbies, etc) these aspects of life are nearly, if not completely, impossible to never encounter
> So at least you got prepared for that.
This has nothing to do with "preparing" people.
Something you didn't mention though which always drove me crazy with school was how often it robbed me of the discovery and exploration portions of the learning experience.
Those portions form the substance of life, for me anyways, and every time a teacher would explain things I was on the cusp of understanding on my own anyways it drove me absolutely nuts. Like someone telling you the spoilers to a book or movie you're deeply engaged in.
And when I had already understood concepts the curriculum hadn't yet reached, and had my own perfectly correct and effective methods which happened to differ from whatever they taught when we arrived there, I'd be in trouble for using my familiar and preferred methods. Despite the fact that I actually had a deeper understanding of the problem than someone only having memorized whatever method was being taught, since it was something I had actually encountered in life and figured out independently. This happened so many times in math classes, my teachers started accusing me of cheating on tests because I would ace them while not doing any of the homework. Later on after switching to a non-religious school it became even worse, because we were rehashing stuff all over again like it was a year behind my previous school.
If I had to do it all again I'd have fought harder against school and religion from an earlier age, it was all an awful tar-pit that burned so much time and caused a lot of suffering.
It explains nothing.
But it is carefully crafted to drive you in the right direction so that you discover things by yourself, step by step, from early to very late levels.
It's a very difficult balance for a puzzle game, espacially for something as original as baba is you, that requires you to think a lot out of the box:
- a level completly chalenges your perception of what you are as a player
- another one forces you to put yourself in a loosing position to win
- one requires an object that does not exist at all in the entire level
It's a joy to understand those new mechanisms. But it is a hard game, so it needs a way to help you without spoiling the fun of solving it.
If you like level design like me, it's a treat, and a good example of great tutoring.
Now as a teacher, I do that as well. But mixed to traditional teaching because I teach adults, and they want to compress the learning time and be productive fast, even at the price of a more superficial understanding.
If you are in the upper percentiles, you are used to bring the lower percentiles up, if you are in the lower you are used to bring balance.
Now we are almost at the point of making not going to school illegal.
(you can argue if mandatory is the same as illegal)
I'm fairly certain (at least for the US) it has been illegal. "By 1918, every state had a compulsory attendance law on the books." 
According to this table, school attendance is compulsory for every state in the US for specific age ranges: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/statereform/tab5_1.asp
Is it? I'd bet most kids, left to their own devices, they'd eat fast food, watch cartoons, and play games all day, and not learn anything...
>Also, I don't miss having to fight for social acceptance, the bullying, the stress and pressure nor the hypocrisy of the ones in charge.
Aren't these the basic things school teaches? Socialization?
People aren't all kind lovable beings, nor are situations non adversarial in life.
From this there's retreat to isolation from life (e.g. like those Japanese who refuse to exit their homes), or learning how others can be, how you can respond, how to make friends, win over enemies, ignore or defeat people who try to put you down, etc. Tertium non datur.
This might be true for you but I don't believe for 1 second that the common person is able to "learn on their own". Literally everything they want/need to know about anything is available on the internet but very, very few taught themselves to be educated.
Teachers who have experimented with "reverse classrooms" claim that 1. Students hate it, and 2. It is very effective.
Here's a different viewpoint.
I personally really enjoyed school.
I enjoyed the social structure of school. I wasn't popular by any means, but I had my group of nerdy, academic friends who shared a passion for learning and building things.
Learning how to deal with social conflicts, when they inevitably arose, turned out to be super useful.
It was interesting just to observe all the different types of people. I learned a lot about myself by learning about others.
The relationships I made through school are much stronger than ones made later on. Maybe it's that I found like-minded people early on. But being put in a high-stress environment and going through shared struggles brought us closer together.
I also enjoyed the academic structure of school. It exposed me to a breadth of knowledge that I know I wouldn't have explored otherwise. I found it to be a great stepping stone to learn more on my own.
FWIW I went to a public school with decent academic rigor. I had mostly good teachers, a few great, and a few bad. Maybe my experience was "lucky" compared to most others here?
I can't speak for anyone else, but this is definitely the polar opposite of the experience I had.
School was a huge opportunity cost for me. When I think about the skills that make me successful today, 90% of them were self taught or I picked them up in the industry (programming, sales, marketing, management). I was always a prolific reader and learned so much more in my independent studies during my school years than through the education system.
Socially, it was even more dire. I was fairly popular, but I've since had to cut off contact with everyone I went to school with. A lot of them are toxic but most are just very different from me in a way that doesn't make sense for them to be part of my life.
People I've met through shared interests are the ones that become a part of my life in a significant way.
For me, school was a prison like environment that I'd wish on no one. I'm really happy to see students standing and questioning the fundamental necessity of our antiquated school system. 12 years is a lot of time to waste and I'm excited to see a shift toward actually taking advantage of that time instead of just "keeping kids off the streets" and "training cogs".
But, I’m entirely aware that I was motivated to learn because I liked school, because I liked learning, because I had things I was interested in that school taught (math, history, literature, etc...) Others didn’t. I was never taught why school was good for me, I learned why school was good for me on my own, accidentally, and even then, I didn’t learn how to learn until college. Those meta-lessons, to me, are the hardest and most important lessons an education should teach.
It seems to me that discussions about school (like the featured article, and sadly, some of the comments) tunnel-vision on the stick and largely overlook the carrot from the student’s perspective (the one any successful education system must guide).
I think I mostly agree. Some of the parts of school sucked, but overal it was a fun experience, with a decent enough balance of bullies and friends.
I’m not quite sure I saw it like that at the time, but I never hated it.
I also find that everything I learned in high school is used at some point or another (maybe the french is an exception), Biology is great when raising kids, maths are great at any point in life, though the more esoteric ‘resolve this equation’ things have yet to happen, geography is nice because I know what causes the earthquakes, what makes the typhoons that pass by once in a while and so on.
It only becomes clear to me by comparison how great and well-rounded my education has been, sometimes I wonder if other people went to school at all, and if they did, what did they do there all day?
While I think university might have done a better job of preparing me for work, high school did a great job of preparing me for life (at least academically).
And really, work is just a more complex high school socially speaking.
Over time, I feel my experience was an outlier.
The teachers and most of academia only car about the straight laced kids who do well naturally or because their parents are good about offering structure, or the kids who clearly have a troubled home life. But since I didn't have either of those things, I was a "problem" kid and no one gave a shit about how I was doing. I wasn't being beaten at home so I didn't have an excuse for my poor performance.
I was constantly exhausted because I was naturally a night owl and school requires kids to get up way too early. The way lectures and studying were structured never jived with me and I was so tired most times I'd stare at a wall all class, I could never get into the groove of things.
Yet even after all of this, I've been very successful in my career even though I never went to college, nearly all of my coworkers have masters or phd's. I taught myself everything I know when it comes to practical application of skills in my field, literally none of it was taught to me by anyone, and a lot of it I taught myself during my highschool years. I take pride in that, but I also hate myself for it. I wish I could of fit into the square peg society nurtures so much, and because of the way I've gone about things, everything I do is harder for me than anyone else around me (except for other people in my situation).
This post does a terrible job really capturing my experience, but it isn't worth my time spending a day writing a post on a forum to capture how much I truly loathe the modern education system for making my life so miserable for close to 20 years. I understand most systems are designed for the 90% case, but being an outlier in today's society is rough and I wish it upon no one.
EDIT: A big reason why I wanted to post, was mainly because most people try to rationalize about how school isn't "efficient" and is an "opportunity cost" etc etc. I have a completely different take on it, school was depressing and extremely emotional for me. It made me very unstable trying to cope with how different I was compared to other people and was very arduous on my soul so to speak and I have lasting impacts on my mental health because of it. It's less about efficiency to me and more about improving the system to help make people's lives better and more tolerable if they're struggling. Suicide is a big problem today and I strongly believe the way our schooling system is setup has a lot to do with that.
I don't know... Aren't relationships with people you see face-to-face generally stronger than those with people you mainly interact with through the internet? I mean, here we are, and I can only remember like 3 usernames in this community. It's not like I'm friends with them either or anything. I think like 99% of us don't really know anybody else here. We use terms like OP and GP to refer to one another based on the positions of our comments...
I haven't seen folks from any of my schools in a long time, but I think I do care more about them than about the strangers from this community that I've visited everyday for the last few years.
Do others here have experience having somewhat deep relationships with people you've only interacted with online?
In fact, I'll argue that school distort the child ability to socialize, not improve it. Because it's an artificial setup were the crazy values and rules only exist and make sense in the school. And worst, adults sell you values and rules from the real world while you are stuck in this alternate dimension.
Sort of, not really, kinda, etc. I had to move pretty much right after graduating HS, went directly into the workforce and now just kinda move around every few years to take a new job. I'm in contact with maybe one friends from HS and will probably never develop close friendships like that again. On the other hand, I'm one few discord servers where we have become moderately close I suppose, and some of us have met up, despite being scattered across the world, but it still feels very superfical. The one advantage the internet gives me is the ability to meet people my age, with similar interests. In real life, theres people I'll hang out with occasionally or events I'll go to, but most of the time I'm the youngest by a decade and it's hard to make real connections.
I’m here a lot, and I have a list of probably a hundred or so usernames in my head that either post often or have meaningful contributions, many linked to real-life identities. I doubt I could recognize any if they walked by me on the street.
The 3 usernames I do remember, it's because one's name somehow stands out to me from their use of capitalization (most use just lowercase), and the others because their username appears in other people's posts (e.g. dang).
I’m fairly sure this is an intentional choice. I can often tell the author from the subject and tone, though ;)
The benefit of going to school for kids in the US at least is that you get to move a year closer to getting out.
A cost is that if you don't go, you get held back (and get the according social stigma).
Another poster below asked
> But why did Japan's snap first?
I think one of the reasons here is perhaps that kids automatically advance through the public schools system for the first nine grades regardless of whether they actually attend school or not. So people can stay even with their friend groups.
I've known/worked with a few kids who didn't go to school, and while some of them had personal issues of some kind or another, others simply just didn't see any cost to not going to school and hung out with their friends when their friends were out of school and otherwise enjoyed life.
Another difference, I think, is that with bullying in US schools, you can usually escape it to a certain extent through different classes/activities, but in Japanese schools, you tend to stay with your homeroom class for every subject, so there's no chance to get away/make a different friend group except for club activities and the next academic year.
> A cost is that if you don't go, you get held back (and get the according social stigma).
At least in California, this is no longer true. My daughter has been a year behind for 6 years straight now, and we've done everything short of suing the school to try and get them to hold her back a year, but they refuse to.
And why not? The culture is about microaggression. Eventually, your peers become competition. A competition to break down the environment as hard and fast as time permits, and then wonder why nothing changes..
If this reflects company culture, the kids will need to learn to survive, either by skipping school legally, or learning to survive and maybe become a bit psychopathic themselves. Just to be a little ahead of the system. Those skipping school are those who could turn the situation around, if not orchastrized by the community, the teachers and closest family. It is sort of a culture strangling itself.
You get what you deserve in the end. So look people in the eye and get to know them, even if they're a bit strange looking, they're much more fun to be with in the longer run. That other reward will still be dangling there, teasingly.
I appreciate the efforts put in HN and the people who make this a platform for eachother. Such platforms people can stand on and make a difference.
He did alright in school, studied hard sometimes, other times didn’t, dawdled around a bit after high school. He joined an organization that was a good fit for someone with reasonably good grades who dawdled around a bit after high school, but found himself much more intellectually developed and disciplined than most others. This is how you get put on the fast track.
I scored near the top of every standardized exam in school. However, I hated it and skipped constantly. My abusive and chaotic home life did not allow me to study and complete assignments properly, so even the apparent intelligence advantage frankly did not help me. So I quit, got a minimum wage job, read a lot in my off time, paid for my community college, found myself the smartest guy in most of my classes, won a bunch of scholarships to my state flagship. Did similar stuff there. In a few steps I’m in the same socioeconomic status (or higher) as the smart high achieving kids from my high school.
I believe one of the main issues is that most parents (including my own) won’t allow the children to consider such a path, and will begin to terrorize (“discipline”) them for things such as not making a high enough grade or exactly following the trajectory fellow parents peer pressure them into believing in. I have no sympathy for these types and think they are unfit to parent if they have such a low level of maturity. Many children may also be unfit for such a path and would just smoke weed and play games til age 35. Again I feel that it is a parent’s responsibility to understand their children.
”Many schools in Japan control every aspect of their pupils' appearance, forcing pupils to dye their brown hair black, or not allowing pupils to wear tights or coats, even in cold weather. In some cases they even decide on the colour of pupils' underwear.”
Why not just keep it fun? More playing, less homework.
While many will try to tell you in some Orientalist fiction that this is inherent to the Japanese people, it’s actually more the byproduct of the postwar, American-designed order that rehabilitated the former fascists as a “conservative” parliamentary party and invested them with near unilateral power (including over schooling). Prior to this period and through various forms of popular resistance (up until about the 1970s), Japan was a hotbed of radicalism, producing some of the greatest artists and thinkers about the problems of modernity.
So powerful in fact was the JCP, that the American occupation force used the threat of its rising power to coerce the defeated fascists into alliance with them and constitute what is now know as the Liberal Democratic Party. From here, it was a mere matter of providing them with massive subsidies and intelligence gathered on their opponents on the left-
-and use the resulting power to produce a social, political, and economic order that was conducive to US interests.
I’m not certain what you’re getting at with regard to being “foreign” to American ideology, but authoritarianism is certainly not, if evidenced only by its long history and support of right-wing, authoritarian regimes.
Authoritarianism is hardly "completely foreign" to America.
But even if we ignore this, US government has a long established pattern of supporting any movement that opposes left wing politics across the globe to the point of funding coups.
The list is very long: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_r...
More playing? How will this prepare them for the real world where they’re expected to work 16 hour days.
I cannot shake the moment my Japanese acquaintances expressed incredulity that kids would actually play after school (or rather, that there was such a thing as after school play).
> Why bother forming friend circles with people you must talk to, when you can find friend circles from a larger pool with people you want to talk to?
Because this is how the real world works. Being able to get along well with people you didn’t select, or perhaps don’t even like very much, is an essential part of a functional society. Perhaps children aren’t likely to understand this, but shielding them from exposure to it isn’t really setting them up for success later in life.
I was as guilty of this as anyone in my school days, and yet not a single teacher ever pointed out to me that I was at school to learn how to learn, so in a sense the subject matter was irrelevant.
Hell, I was a somewhat troubled teen with problems and when I was about 14, I outright refused to go to school for a year and my poor mother couldn’t do much to make me go :/ BUT in that time, I taught myself to program, first in Visual Basic, then in python and finally I settled on C++. Sure, my knowledge was quite limited compared to what it is now after years of practical experience and a computer science degree, but that year of self study largely shaped my approach to life, exposed me to a lot of things just because I was interested, gave me drive and ambition and set me up for a career in software development.
I’m not saying school was completely useless to me, but it was a rather inefficient way of learning the things I do find useful.
In school, I hated most subjects like history, geography etc but nowadays I’ll happily Wikipedia binge for days on end learning about the finer points of other civilizations past or present (I’ve even started reading books on Sumerian tablets), chemistry, biology, physics, maths.. I’ve recently been binge watching YouTube videos on quantum mechanics...
Then there were things I really enjoyed while in school: English essays for example were something I enjoyed writing, but I got little encouragement or help in doing so and my passion for writing fizzled out...
I often found that my interests were there, but misaligned. I may have been intensely interested in some aspect of history -- but not the anything on the current curriculum. If, by chance my interests aligned with a class topic, I excelled without much effort.
My other gripe was the lack of integration between topics -- You didn't learn much about the history of science or math in science or math classes. Nor did you learn much interesting stuff about mathematical and engineering history in History classes. Art was the exception to this and I really enjoyed both the historical and practical aspects of Art classes for this reason.
My school days are well in the past and I understand it's a little different for high-schooler's these days. At least I hope that's true.
Oh, I’m not saying it was without value, just that it was a very inefficient way of learning, which in turn means I learned a lot less in the time I spent on it than I could have or was otherwise unhappy with my school years when they could have been amazing.
> I often found that my interests were there, but misaligned. I may have been intensely interested in some aspect of history -- but not the anything on the current curriculum.
Yes, absolutely. Or even just that I wasn’t interested at that particular moment. Somebody recently explained to me that Montessori basically lets kids choose what to learn any any particular time (in a self learning way). I feel this would have been extremely suited to me. I was always an intuitive person who had to learn how or why things work, I’m pretty sure that I would have found myself interested in most school things at some point.
> My other gripe was the lack of integration between topics
Yeah I agree with this too. Also just not being very hands on. Other people mentioned the “when will I ever use this” question. School (and even uni) was pretty bad at teaching ways that you might actually want to know this thing aside from general interest. For example, I hated statistics in uni and did bad in that course (didn’t help that the lecturer was ab alcoholic but anyway), until some time later when I needed it for a project I wanted to do and I found that not only is it useful, but also quite interesting. When something is thought purely in the abstract it’s boring and seems not that useful but when you put it into practice it can be really fun and interesting.
Even if transfer learning did exist that’s not the reason for school that any substantial portion of people believe in. If we look at the institutional history of school teaching nationalism is a much easier sell as to the purpose of school.
 “Besides just plain forgetting, people commonly fail to marshal what they know effectively in situations outside the classroom or in other classes in different disciplines. The bridge from school to beyond or from this subject to that other is a bridge too far.”
“Salomon, Gavriel, and David Perkins. 1989. “Rocky Roads to Transfer: Rethinking Mechanism of a Neglected Phenomenon.” Educational Psychologist 24 (2): 113–42.
This is a skill I use to this day, especially when debugging, and when I have a hard day, I remind myself that if I was able to solve 100 linear equations over christmass when I was 10, I should be able to find this bug!
If anything I'd say school hindered me in this regard! I think I learnt dogged persistence through playing videogames.
I have to admit, that I did mention my mum on purpose, for first two years she literally sat by my side to help me concentrate.
Videogames either reqiured too good reaction time for me, or were too entertaining to need dogged persistence on my part :)
Citation needed. But transfer learning is a term specific to the ML field anyway, so I'm not sure why you used it.
> teaching nationalism is a much easier sell as to the purpose of school
I don't think most people believe this is the purpose of school, not even nationalists.
So let's erase all borders and see how we get on.
Orwell: 'men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.'
That'll be the same France that has nuclear weapons?
Now consider how many people are hurt every year over enforcing laws that have just as imaginary lines drawn about other issues. Things like not being able to vote because of an imaginary line. Not being able to buy alcohol. Being forced to go to school where you have no rights to protect yourself from being harmed.
Those imaginary lines drawn on soil determine how resources are allocated, for example, enabling cheap energy and customers for the US’s military industrial complex, or cheap spices and labor for the British, and so on and so forth.
Even the most advanced mammals use tribes to maximize chances of survival, and humans are no different.
Yes, that happens when ethnic cleansing is completed so that what were previously multi-ethnic empires are now mono-ethnic nation states.
Re: schooling as a means of promoting nationalism
> Education and Military Rivalry
> Using data from the last 150 years in a small set of countries, and from the postwar period in a large set of countries, we show that large investments in state primary education systems tend to occur when countries face military rivals or threats from their neighbors. By con- trast, we find that democratic transitions are negatively associated with education investments, while the presence of democratic politi- cal institutions magnifies the positive effect of military rivalries. These empirical results are robust to a number of statistical concerns and continue to hold when we instrument military rivalries with commod- ity prices or rivalries in a certain country’s immediate neighborhood. We also present historical case studies, as well as a simple model, that are consistent with the econometric evidence.
The paper is too narrow to be a 'better sell' than transfer of learning, as dubious as that is.
> Today, transfer of learning is usually described as the process and the effective extent to which past experiences (also referred to as the transfer source) affect learning and performance in a new situation (the transfer target). However, there remains controversy as to how transfer of learning should be conceptualized and explained, what its prevalence is, what its relation is to learning in general, and whether it exists at all.
I transferred between schools mid-semester and discovered despite being weeks ahead of class at my old school I was weeks behind at the new one. I asked my teacher for help and she said "If you're so smart, you'll figure it out, and if you don't then you don't deserve to be here."
This is of course the exact opposite of what gifted students need to learn. Lots of smart kids go into high school or college used to powering through everything via sheer intellect and equating being smart with instantly grasping any new concept.
They're set up for a terrible fall the first time they're confronted with something they can't solve without help because their self identity is so wrapped up in "I'm smart and I can do anything!". Learning to learn, learning to be persistent and that challenges are not failures are just as important as the material.
I sometimes wonder why I put my 7 y/o in school at all, I wonder how far he would comes with his own natural curiosity. Luckily he likes school (although he recently re-did a year because he really was getting depressed about the the sheer amount of things he had to do and was failing at.)
High school is usually around ages 14-18.
History taught me how to analyse sources, accounting taught me how to write up a budget, english taught me how to write better, math taught me how to create graphs.
These skills are timeless and some of them I use daily.
I can remember much of where and what I learned in K-12, and who helped me to learn it (and how much they helped). It may (or not) be trendy, but it would be damned thankless of me to take that help for granted.
Learning anything is a discipline. Self-discipline isn't something we're born with, and great teachers model it for us. If we don't learn it, the prognosis for us is dim. Once we acquire it, to the extent we're able, we can accomplish whatever we 'set our minds to'. Coding, for an example. Compassion, for another.
Is spaced repetition still almost never taught in school?
This has been decoupling in western civ over the last couple generations.
People, including kids, will put up with all kinds of ridiculous behaviors and treatment for a long term reward. Slowly take away the reward over a couple generations and people WILL stop responding in a Pavlovian fashion and the game is over.
The kids are right. In the old days abusive school system lead to a materially successful career. But with an economy holding more people than productive jobs, why put up with the abuse if you're not going to get anything out of it anyway?
In the old days, hazing led to automatic full membership in the cool kids club. Not any more. Unsurprisingly, hazing isn't too popular anymore other than some vague traditional "when I was a kid they abused me too" sense.
Perhaps I'm a duller knife than the others in this thread, but high school in particular was incredibly useful for me. I enjoyed it. In my life, I've found self-learning works for specific tasks, but I find it difficult to self-learn for general educational purposes or without a specific goal.
In high school, I found my voice from a writing perspective, discovered drama, and a dozen other things. Looking back on my career, the experience of doing literary analysis in American Literature (Grade 11) or writing long-form essays based on primary sources in a limited time-box for AP History, or speaking in front of a crowd (Drama Grades 10-12) and getting over my shyness was arguably more valuable for me than the specific domain knowledge that I studied in college.
North American (NA) schools have bullying, exams, homework, and sleep disruption but our system is still relatively intact. Children aren't much happier here either. Teen depression and teen suicide is rising at a rapid pace as well.
The first reason that comes to mind is that there is less of a stigma of leaving these public schools in Japan than in NA. It seems such a common occurrence that everyone has just accepted it. Here everyone is so anti non-traditional that even home-schooling is seen as an archaic form of education.
My impression from living here in Japan for a bit over a year, and having friends with children in the Japanese school system, is that Japanese students have way more pressure put on them. Kids spend way longer each day out of the house; Study sessions before school, stronger peer pressure to assimilate and not stick out, more after school activities, more homework to do in the evenings, school six days a week. Also keep in mind that the middle school you get into will have a huge effect on which high school you get to attend, which has a very strong influence on which college you get into, and thus effect your pipeline into the best companies. The pressure to succeed starts way younger than it does in the US, and not getting into the primary school of choice can ruin your chances for success later on in adult hood.
A couple of anecdotal stories I've seen during my time here; Bullying here seems to be much more pronounced, and given the cultural hesitation to involve yourself in other's affairs, often goes unchecked. I've seen many instances of large groups of 10+ kids ganging up on a single kid on the streets, in full view of adults and even public safety volunteers, and no one will ever step in and tell the kids to stop.
On another occasion I was outside of a combini having a drink, and near by a young girl (maybe 8 years old or so), was crying trying to do her homework. The mother was nearby and when she would write down answers that were wrong, the mother would scream at the child and call her stupid, which would cause the child to cry harder (but still trying to complete her work), and the entire thing just kind of created this negative feedback loop - child would cry harder and probably do worse on the work, which would anger the mother and make the screaming more intense, which caused the crying to become more intense. It was a really depressing and disturbing thing to witness, especially given the young age of the child.
I know bullying exists in the west (myself being a victim of some pretty intense bullying as a child), and there is strong pressure to do well in high school to get into the best colleges as well, but from what I've seen in Japan it seems to be much more pronounced. At least in the west most times an adult will step in to stop bullying when it's seen, but here it seems no one cares or will do anything to stop it.
This is not generally true. For public schools (i.e. ones in the public system, not private) your middle school is determined by where you live. There is no entrance exam until you are going to high school. For the prestigious schools in the private system, there are often entrance exams at every single level, but these are not common schools. Normally, once you get into one of these school you are pretty much set for life (often they even have a university equivalent system, though you have to write a comprehensive exam to get your eventual degree).
As for bullying, I worked in Japanese high school for 5 years. It was a low level school (we once accepted a student who score 0 on their entrance exam -- that's how low level). Bullying happened, but compared to the bullying I personally experienced in my high school in Canada, it was quite rare. In every case of bullying that I observed, the bullies were expelled. It may be that my high school was particularly stringent about bullying, though. Of course you can't catch all cases of bullying and a lot will happen outside of the school grounds.
I'm not sure what's going on with this report and I'm interested to learn more, but especially at elementary level I find it a bit difficult to understand. Most of the things that distinguish western school systems from the Japanese system don't really kick in until middle school. There really isn't a club system in elementary school and children come home around 3 pm. They don't generally go to school on the weekend. I've seen the curriculum and it's not appreciably more difficult than in the west (I once had an idea to learn Japanese by buying up textbooks on every subject for elementary school children and learning everything they did. It was quite fun!) Whatever is going on, I suspect it's not directly related to the school per se.
I will say that in high school, they are somewhat more accepting of absenteeism, at least in low level schools. I had a student who never once showed up before 11:30 in the morning and while he was frequently a cause of concern for the teachers, he was treated pretty carefully. So it is possible that absenteeism is just more accepted. I don't know. I mean if your kid didn't show up for a month at school, I think a social worker would be knocking on the door. In Japan, it would be the home room teacher from the school and they have a lot less options than that social worker. But like I said, I don't know enough to understand what's going on here.
Pressure cooker learning environment does not always leads to more difficult topics. It is more about how much work is there to be done, how much time is spent by it and how they treat you when you fail (either by not doing or by making mistakes).
To large extend, kids actually learn more when they have time to rest/play and are not under pressure. Up to the point of course, playing whole time and no expectations dont lead to high results either.
In the U.S. the helicopter parenting strategy mostly prevails since society has a tendency to call the cops on "negligent" parenting. There's a ton of focus on attendance numbers and graduation rates. Depending on where you are, school can be an academic pressure cooker or a pipeline into the prison system. There are more immigrant communities pushing for "first in the family" success stories. And so the attention of the student gets away from how bad school is and gets diverted towards "surviving the zombie apocalypse/battle royale and riding off into the sunset".
Many people entering adulthood here, at least since the recession and perhaps earlier, experience a crisis a short while after they graduate and enter the workforce because they have been so steadfastly committed to this kinds of script from an early age that they can't reflect properly until much later, and then it hits like a freight train that they might be wrong, their identity is incompletely constructed, and the story did not end with them riding off into the sunset.
Parents who think education is worthless breed kids who fulfill that prophecy. Reap what you sow.
My comment was primarily in response to the article talking a lot about why kids don't want to go to school, but not why they would want to go to school. imo, you could reduce the cost of school as much as you'd like and it would still be hard to get kids to learn unless you've convinced them to want to learn.
Maybe at the time it was beneficial, but I didn’t stay friends with anybody I was friends with in school for long after leaving school and now I’m not in contact with any of my school friends.
When I was a child, I was friends with people based on proximity (eg we were in the same class therefore we were friends), but nowadays I choose my friends based on shared ideals or passions. I also found a many (not all) of my school friends ended up being incredibly mentally draining unambitious people and that hanging out with them held me back from my own ambitions and values and they ended up being quite negative relationships. Life is too short to deal with that so now I choose friends who enable me to be who I want instead of holding me back and I try to be a positive enabler to my friends in return.
> when you can find friend circles from a larger pool with people you want to talk to?
Many schools are unable to teach kids anything and try to just contain the troublemakers long enough for their parents to pick them up.
American school system does not exactly make it super easy for working parents either. I know schools that basically assume that one parent works part time maximum.
Other important thing is how to teach. On surface it might feel trivial to teach division to 7 years old but in reality different kids understand in different ways. An experienced teacher has came in contact with all idiosyncrasies and knows different approaches to make student successful. Person doing something professionally all day long is often way ahead of the game than parents who are busy doing chores or make a leaving.
Even then, I spent my final year gaming the system to earn the highest grades from the least amount of work.
Pretty excited for retirement tho...
Either you are a kid or you think like an emotionless automaton.
No, people are way more complex that a "cost/benefit analysis"
SMBC has the answer to this: https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/why-i-couldn39t-be-a-math-...
Sounds like very pointed snark but IMO it isn't, just a basic truth. The average population may not ever need to use what they learned but the percentage of people who go on to STEM and other professional careers are "going to use this" and that's enough to make it worthwhile.
Aren't these fact of adult life too, that children need to learn?
All you need to do is turn off the electricity and remove all toys & food from the house. Then tell the kid that this is what life would be like if mommy & daddy didn't go to work. Everyone would be hungry, cold, there'd be no entertainment and this is what will happen you when you're older if you don't go to school. Because in order to find work you need to learn skills.
school has absolutely nothing to do with work. at least in my native country school is there for the teachers not to strike and vote for the other guys. over there a kid spends more time at school than a parent at work. and this is by design.
so while knowledge is required for work, schools providing that knowledge is by no means a universal concept.
I was somewhat calmed by the knowledge that the school provided counseling and other dedicated programs for the development of my son. I thought the counselors cared quite well for him, when I was allowed to witness sessions.
When I took my son to my home country for two months he transformed. He was quiet and reclusive in the first weeks, but turned into a much more playful, outspoken and socially interested young boy towards the end.
Since then I discovered that his mother has been hiding a worsening mental illness from me. This affected my son greatly, he felt the need to care for her. He even has hundreds of YouTube videos in his history explaining children of what to do when your parent is mentally unwell — discovering this really broke my heart.
Per my request, my son was taken into the custody of the Japanese child protective services 3 months ago and I am currently in Japan fighting for sole custody of him.
My tale is a single data point, but I have come to believe the many stories of mental problems of Japanese children and young adults are not solely attributable to the pressures of society.
I rather believe that mental health problems being a taboo in Japan may be the root of many problems.
Per my understanding it is incredibly shameful to admit to mental health problems and doing so brings serious ramifications.
So, if my hypothesis is correct, parents in Japan are more likely to go untreated and their children suffer the effects, perpetuating the cycle.
In our case, the school—very subtly—tried to inform me about their worries concerning his mothers mental health problems without ever speaking about it directly. They only spoke freely when a court appointed expert demanded them to.
My son has an entire network of child psychologist, youth counselors and also me waiting for him in my home country, who will all encourage him to treat mental health like physical health; Everyone gets sick sometimes. For the body you take antibiotics, for the mind you take time of to become aware of what is happening. You seek professional help in both situations and being depressed, is a shameful as getting the flu, not at all.
You are right that people don’t often admit mental illness in public or to people they don’t trust.
That’s not that different from western countries in my experience, there is a stigma associated to even depression. Perhaps agoraphobia would be the line where people just nod and ask for details, otherwise they tend to draw a line and flag you as “crazy” or lazy if they have no prior experience or exposure to mental illness.
The worst part would be from a career perspective, where your employer getting that info would be at best neutral, at worst cost you opportunities you would have no chance to prove you missed because of discrimination.
Now, Japanese people get treated. It’s not difficult to get a prescription, and you don’t need to shout on the roofs your getting treatment. I had a number of co-workers that were diagnosed with depression and were under treatment for a few years already. Close friends knew it, otherwise it was no one’s business.
Like for everything, the first step is to recognize you need help, and that’s a step a lot of adults fear to take.
Luckily work environnement is usually not that chalenging, and very predictible. It helps to avoid situations that could be triggering, and medication can also mitigate the handicaping parts, even if it doesn’t solve the root issues.
I live in New York now and we found a somewhat similar school for our kids. The entire school has 15-17 students. Each class has 3-4 students max. Tutoring happens at a multi-family house, which is also a place where the principal of the school lives. My kids LOVE the school. They celebrate every single birthday of each other, with cakes, gifts and al that. They visit theaters, museums, movie theaters, farms, zoos, you name it. They also do classes that are not popular in US, like Geography, Biology and they want to add Chess and Yoga. My older one is 5 years old, he f#cking wants to travel. He wants to visit Paris, London, Romania.
I can talk forever about our kids school, but to finish my comment, I'm a believer that this type of "semi-decentralized" education is the right path. I could be wrong though, but so far, it works out great.
A girl, who was by all accounts a decent student, had not been doing some of her homework recently. He brought it up in a casual and supportive way. The mother busy into tears and apologised profusely, exclaiming that she was so sorry for sending such a terrible didn't to this teacher's class etc. As this goes on the daughter now starts crying in response.
My friend said this is a scene repeated again and again. Enormous amounts of pressure from both the parents and the teachers (he is something of an exception) is crushing children.
Reporter: "How do you balance schoolwork and play?"
Singaporean Mom: "That is a good question. But my kids will thank me after they are successful in life."
In other words, no balance except as an abstract thought. :)
where the definition of success is based on the parent's perception of what success means.
The child's opinions nor desires don't come into the picture.
I once discussed with some friends from various backgrounds on the merits of doing higher education or going in for your passion after high-school and a friend from a remote countryside in Mexico explained "well, for me it was straighforward. Either I go to university, or I do farming my all life."
Well, their own. Those experiences likely give them better insight into their own preferences than an outsider, even at a young age.
Ignoring those preferences suppresses their individuality. It also reduces the chances of them finding something they're uniquely good at, restricts development to the parent's biases, and kneecaps entire suites of decision-making skills and development.
It's the child's own future, so when possible the parents should let the child's own desires lead them toward a successful future. That is a hard balance to strike, because the parent has to turn their child's desire into more general skills that can be useful even if the child's dream isn't realistic or the best outcome.
I wonder how my life would've been if my parents got me involved in computers and programming when I was 8 instead of ignoring it and waiting until I taught myself at 15.
Articles about Japan always bring up Japanese names for things. What is the reason for this?
You don't usually see the same for other countries: In German more and more children are lonely, a phenomenon called "die Einsamkeit".
We have an English word “truant”, referring to someone who happens to not attend schooling; but we have no English word for someone who actively avoids the education system. This is an uncommon construction; I don’t think there’s another language besides Japanese that has such a word. This is a problem that has only risen to the level of intensity to need public knowledge and communication about it in Japan—at least, so far.
It’s interesting that they need such a word enough to not only create it, not only to make it short, but that it seemingly is a word any average Japanese person might now know. The fact that this word exists as a “layman’s term” says a lot about the phenomena. The fact that it replaced an earlier, less PC word for the same thing says even more!
(But, besides the subtle statement being made by introducing an element of cultural linguistic evolution, journalists are probably also trying to be “the person who was responsible for introducing a loan-word into English.” Since English doesn’t have this word, but might need it sooner-or-later, maybe we’ll use the Japanese one, like we did with taifuun, karaoke, or emoji. Probably the journalists who first used those words in English-language articles feel very proud of themselves.)
Futōkō (不登校) refers to the act/phenomenon of not going to school, i.e. truancy, not the children.
There's also "playing hooky". While it still refers to the action, IMO its more about someone actively avoiding school/work.
It’s like the difference between “being depressed” and “suffering from depression.” One is a mood, that could be brought about by any number of temporary environmental factors, and really isn’t a “problem” so much as an often-expected reaction that will sort itself out. The other is a long-term state of being with complex etiology that isn’t expected to resolve without diagnosis and treatment.
Wow, Not to be judgmental, but maybe Japanese schools are a bit too strict...
I've never seen evidence that strict discipline creates good humans. Last I checked modern pedagogy teaches us otherwise.
But overall, strict rules on where it would be considered more of personal choices elsewhere were governed by such rule.
Back in where I was in middle school (close to 30 years ago, so certainly things have changed), I had:
1. Mandatory close clipped hair for male (repealed within first year I've attended -- I heard it took like 4 years of school council's effort do make this happen.)
2. Socks must be white
3. Shoes must be white
There were somewhat implicit rules against hair dying, and eating lunch box early (latter being more universal norm) -- both actually caused big scandal when someone actually did those...
I certainly expected so, I should probably have picked a less exceptional example from the article..
Still regulating color of shoes and socks seems a bit unnecessary. Granted school uniforms are common in some parts of the world (personally, I would find it rather extreme).
The free school in this article seems to match what I'm doing for "work" now. The more strict, controlling school with controlling parents is a closer fit to what I was doing previously. Maybe it's the parents and the parent's system which is broken.
Which is apparently kind of a (vinyl) audiobook adaptation of the 1935 classic children's book "Robert Francis Weatherbee".
In retrospect I maybe wish I had done an advanced degree, but avoiding junior high and high school still seems the rational choice.
Family circumstances, personal issues with friends, and bullying are among the main causes, according to a survey by the ministry of education.
10 year olds, NOT college students.
School in Japan (and to extent the society) really focus any students not standing out in a group. I was always considered by teachers, and peers, that was "different" from others. (Basically I Was kind of guy who would be left out when asked to "make a pair" in odd numbers.)
Fortunately, I could survive, as I wasn't really bullied much (happened time to time) and had small group of good friends, some support from someone older at school, and also befriended with some of teachers. Despite of this, feeling that I'm the one who can't blend in, that sense of shame and frustration was always reinforced. Without support, I would have had taken alternative way of school to be honest. (and to this day, it just gives me chill how bad things could have been if I actually had to stay in school in Japan for the rest of my education and beyond...)
School system in the US is not that greatest thing either, however, at least people left me alone for how I am. I attended to Japanese supplemental school on Saturdays (that I was nearly forced to attend) for a little more than two years and I didn't enjoy it for the same reasons I had problem with school in Japan.
High school was useless and terrible though.
With that in mind, take a look at this list.
In the US, the number of years spent in school on average is now 13.2. In 100 years, the number of school days has increased by (13.2 * 180) - (8.2 * 120) = 1392 days.
Now consider the life of a modern US child. It is already decided before they're born that they will spend 9 hours a day (8 at school, 1 for HW), 5 days a week, for ~13 years of their youth in an office environment. In this office environment, children are expected to be quiet and stationary for the wide majority of that time. If a child disobeys, it will be recorded on several surveillance cameras, and the event will basically be remembered forever. Despite being able to surveil every pupil, bullying is still somehow a commonplace event. For the bullied, they have no recourse because they are forced to interact with their bullies on a near-daily basis. How anyone can convince themselves that this is a natural environment for children is beyond me.
To be completely clear, I'm not saying I have an easy solution for this. This is simply the reality of competing in a highly technological, global economy. The need for menial labor is dropping everyday, and the demands of specialization are becoming increasingly stringent. But like a man eating tree bark in a famine, the necessity of the action doesn't magically improve the circumstances. Whether anybody likes it or not, it is a hard fact that governments around the world are forcing children to grow up in environments where they can not move, can not talk, can not play, and must complete copious amounts of paperwork.
Schooling has become the elephant in the room for several modern dilemmas. On this site in particular, there have been numerous articles circulating about the depression epidemic, the loneliness epidemic, record-breaking virginity, record-breaking obesity, etc. etc. While unlikely to be sole cause for any of those issues, it is a blindingly obvious contributor. If I force a child to stay at a desk every morning until night for several years, it should come as no surprise when the child's health and mental state starts to fail. Yet if I do that in the name of education, this is a surprising result?
This is an untouchable subject for politicians, except when arguing to _increase_ its size and scope. It is too easy for political opponents to smear such candidates as "anti-education", and a large group of teachers / school administrators consider such proposals to be an attack on their job security. Unlike other job sectors, these teachers / school administrators have a regular captive audience of children for 8 straight hours. Even unintentionally, their political attitudes are bound to be reflected in their students. So, the attitudes continue, and the cycle stays unbroken.
To hazard a guess, I don't think the end of this cycle is going to be an intentional political action. I think it is much more likely to be a collapse, based on the carelessness that this issue has been given up to now. Eventually, the constraints placed on children are going to become unbearable, and the rewards at the end of the pipeline will become too meager. If this happens, there will a large number of people in a single generation going insane en masse. Unfortunately, that would probably collapse more than just the school system.
it went interestingly last time! (C-f for "You don't have to settle for mere idle speculation. Let me tell you how it came out on the three occasions when we did fight. " )
Got some first hand experience here. Hard to not be a bit sarcastic. Geeze, I don't know... Is it that the students of Japan are suddenly becoming stubborn (or "weak") or is it that a system that:
- does not fight bullying
- does not fight racism
- does not allow students any free time for any hobby
- does recommend to sleep less in order to study more
- does not allow to repeat a class and solely looks at date of birth to put kids in a class
could, possibly, have some impact on the well-being of kids?
But worry not: Japanese TV knows how parents can solve that! It recommends shouting and forcing sport on your lazy stay-at-home kid!
I don't know about you, but Japanese people who grew up in Japan, in my experience, are the most likely of anyone I've ever known to have active hobbies that they picked up during middle or high school. I don't know of any nationality or ethnic group I'd associate more with having active school-age hobbies.
> does not fight racism
That may be a problem for those who are from visible minorities, but the majority of the children who are refusing to go to school are broadly ethnic Japanese, or Okinawan. Seems like it'd be low on the list.
There are private companies that offer study rooms that HS students rent every weekend. Kendo, soccer, baseball and basketball clubs were really huge at the school I was visiting.
EDIT: Kinda surprised at the downvotes! Is it really so controversial to consider a club activity less of a "real" hobby than something self-organized?
Having the general-case "me" matter more is kind-of essential to the article in any case.
You know that Okinawan is “bad”, right.
Even if the incidents are egregious, this is not even among the top twenty reasons that "many" refuse to attend.
As far back as the 1980's it was widely reported that Japanese expectations for children's performance and good behavior drive them to mental illness, from the top down, starting with the demands of parents.
I just have anecdotal evidence. The two kids I know here who regularly skipped school did so because of racist bullying. And yes, hearing "that's your fault because you are a minority" is indicative of a mentality that does not want to fix the problems of people who don't "fit in the mold".
"As far back as the 1980's it was widely reported that Japanese expectations for children's performance and good behavior drive them to mental illness"
Yes, "good behavior". "Why can't you be like the others?" "Why are you the cause of trouble?" Repeat that every day to any normal kid and they won't want to go to school.
Perhaps racism isn't the right descriptor.
Japan has a caste system that puts India's to shame. It's smaller in the number of people living in the lower tiers, but the effects are amplified to a high degree.
At least India puts some effort, futile or not, into forcing representation for its untouchables.
In Japan, a member of the untouchable caste is actual, literal, human garbage especially in the western parts of the country.
It is illegal for parents to investigate the background of their children's potential marriage partners in order to determine if they are a member of an untouchable caste.
Investigations still occur regularly.
Anyone who claims that it is not still a problem is either lying, or is a Japan-obsessed foreigner whose impressions of the country are based on a weeklong trip to Tokyo.
I'm willing to bet that many of the children refusing to go to school are those with the "wrong" family name.
However I heard of two marriages kind of broken by parents who did not want a foreigner in their ranks though.
Racism does exist and I witnessed several occurrences of it against black people. Whites are generally better received, especially French, like I.
Racism and discrimination aren't just reserved to the color of skin, it's often built around whole ancestries of groups and their traditional social standings .
For the same reason, the Nazis killed people that were just as white as themselves, as most scientific racism  went way past defining races merely by the color of skin  and anti-Slav sentiments are something very present in many Western European countries to this day.
Case in point: The Nazis, and many other white-supremacists, consider themselves to be Aryans, supposedly descendants of the lost continent of Atlantis  and apparently the top of their imagined race pyramid.
Indeed, but this exists everywhere. Why would this factor be unusually influential in Japan?
Case in point: Japan has "family rental services"  for those people that spend too much time working, thus lacking the time to maintain an actual family. Which is the result of societal expectations along the lines of "A successful businessman also has a successful family". When in reality most struggle to just support themselves, the idea that a single earner can feed a whole household is something that also hasn't applied in Japan for a while anymore.
Hikikomori  are another, much earlier recognized manifestation of this, that even has somewhat of an equivalent with Western countries "NEETs". The reasons for those are not singular, they are as multifaceted as most social problems are. Racial and class discrimination plays just as much of a factor as the economic downturn, leaving most young Japanese, like young people in many other countries, without much of any perspective.
Here’s the Wikipedia article. Japanese (the nation) citizens of non-Japanese (the ethnic group) suffer discrimination, particularly the indigenous peoples (the Ainu just got formal recognition a decade ago) and people of backgrounds Japan (the nation) has had historical enmity with (Chinese, Korean).
Whether or not we can parse specifically what portion of kids not wanting to go to school is due to this, the fact that 30% of non-Japanese ethnicity respondents of a poll conducted by the Justice Ministry said they had experienced hate speech and 40% said they had faced housing discrimination seems like it would absolutely have an impact on the school experiences of those children.
This is all limited to the types of racism that are pervasive in Japanese society that a broad portion of the student population may have experienced, but Japan’s particularly strong anti-black sentiment is also notable when discussing racism in Japan more broadly.
As to why this might be a particularly strong factor in Japan, as opposed to being some sort of “cosmic background racism” present everywhere, Japanese people’s self-conception of Japan is very tied up in ethnic identity in a somewhat unique way (maybe the prevailing sentiment of Jewish people living in Israel is somewhat similar). Government officials used to talk openly about one culture, one race—when Japan has never really been that and is becoming less so with time. 10% of Tokyo is foreign born, to say nothing of those who were born in Japan of non-Japanese ancestry.
One datapoint, but I thought it was interesting.
Japan is super racist. They outright will often refuse services to foreigners/non-ethnic Japanese.
Here's a quick few results:
Getting downvoted for asking an honest question and trying to understand something..
I wish I could delete my account because I have an impulse control disorder and sometimes I accidentally antagonize the hivemind and then feel bad all day, but I can't, because Hacker News doesn't give me the power to do that, so I keep logging in for some reason. Neat!
Could someone please ban me? Delete my comments? Please?
Sure. They should be compared to countries with similar levels of wealth per capita, since that wealth, in theory, should enable them to rise above what you describe in Nigeria.
But that said, what you quoted the Fulani man saying is frequently expressed in Europe or the Anglosphere today, but with the target being a non-Christian religion.
Notice his last name is Korean? But he was born and raised in Japan.
And here's what he has to say:
Even in his early childhood, he was attacked verbally and physically by Japanese classmates. In kindergarten, he was jeered at for being Korean. Once, another child cut his head open with a stone.
After WW2, there was over 1 million Koreans living in Japan. Some went back, some decided to wait due to the war starting.
Then the country they were going back to no longer existed, so they stayed.
Many don't even have citizenship.
I also remember hearing about how Pachinko parlours are usually owned by Yakuza/Zainichi and they funnel profits into North Korea.
It is a minority. And Japan is very racist towards them. Turns out there are 3 kids in that situation in my family.
We already witnessed three classes having racist bullying and both teachers and school direction refusing to do anything.
I do believe that this mentality of blaming the victims that do not "fit in the mold" is indicative of a very negative culture.
I think coming out to the internet, sharing some personal anecdotes about racism and personal issues, and maybe publishing problems you've experienced personally can help. Not only for teaching others about the issues you yourself face, but also for helping keep ones emotions in check and meditating upon your own issues.
Obviously, this discussion thread exists to criticize Japan and bring forth issues. But in order to be more helpful to everyone involved, its more beneficial to be more specific about what can, and can't, be done to fix certain issues.
With regards to your specific point: giving up because of cultural norms is defeatist and doesn't seem helpful in any case. Now I'm not Japanese, nor have I ever been to that country. But it sounds like Japan is a functioning democracy, so publishing opinions and raising issues is definitely the way to move forward in that kind of political system. The people must be aware of a problem (and agree that it is a problem) before you can ever hope for the politics to change.
Or Zainichi Koreans, who are born and raised in Japan (there are a LOT).
I'm somewhat reminded of the little podunk Maine town I grew up in; people were racist as all hell, but there was nobody to be racist to, because the entire county was white-trash WASPs and French-Canadians, and those two groups were so mixed together that nobody could sling a slur without hitting themselves with it.
If it is not based on race it is not racism, this case it is based on hair color so its "hair color"-ism I guess.
There was also an article -- even posted on HN, I think! -- that some family names linked to historically lowbrow jobs (the "untouchable", such as undertakers and butchers) still carry some sort of stigma. Not their current occupations of course, but the stigma historically attached to those families.
I remember a guy who helped us install in the village when we moved to the countryside. He had lived in the US for a while and told us "That's nice to have foreigners! I love foreigners! Especially white ones!"
Yeah, as a white guy, you dont get to experience much racism, doesnt mean it is not there.
There is being born in the wrong 'caste':
Or the many Koreans who are in 'limbo' (zainichi) after WW2:
Reminds you of anything or anyone?