Japan’s School System Is More Equitable—and Less Costly

KAWAMATA, Japan—In many countries, the United States included, students’ economic backgrounds often determine the quality of the education they receive. Richer students tend to go to schools funded by high property taxes, with top-notch facilities and staff that help them succeed. In districts where poorer students live, students often get shoddy facilities, out-of-date textbooks, and fewer guidance counselors. Not in Japan. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 35 wealthy countries, Japan ranks highly among its peers in providing its rich and poor students with…

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