Date: Oct 15, 2012 7:06 PM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid

Read carefully my last post
that contains the link to the OECD data and charts. You should see that I did not in the least imply that they have twice as many teachers, adjusted for student population.

Keep in mind that the total number of students being more for a US teacher applies only when comparing those teachers whose class periods are the same length and the students are different in each class. If you have a so-called block schedule and thus have three different two-hour classes to teach and the Japanese teacher has three different one-hour classes to teach, and you both have different students to teach in each class, then the total number of students is the same. It is different as I said before - your having twice as many students depends on you not having a block schedule but the traditional "straight-seven" schedule or uniform schedule of 7 different periods where you teach 6 of them. This is nowhere near as popular in the US as it used to be, but is still enough to result in the above overall ratio to be roughly at or more than 1/3 greater in the US, as we below. So the major difference in terms of US teachers having as many as twice as many students to teach total is at the secondary level, since different students in different class is essentially always the case everywhere at the secondary level. This combined with the "straight-seven" schedule or uniform schedule being sufficiently popular in the US along with essentially twice as many teaching hours at all levels contributes to the difference in overall ratios below.
Quote: "Japan now provides over 14 million students with over a million teachers, compared to the roughly 6 million students and 600,000 faculty members in private schools."

It is important to note this:
Quote: "Almost 90 percent of students attend public schools through the ninth grade, but over 29 percent of students go to private high schools."

Compare that to roughly 10% of US k12 students being in private schools at any level.

I do not now how much more than a million the actual figure is with respect to this "over a million" phrase.

This above for Japan is roughly 20 million students served by more than 1.6 million teachers, meaning a total ratio of less than 12.5:1.

This above says that in 2010-2011 there are about 56 million k12 students in the US.

The stats I've see are that in 2010-2011 there were about three and a half million teachers in the US, but I do not know whether or not this is only for full time teachers (that is, excluding part timers and temporary full time substitutes). But using this would give about a 16:1 ratio at best - it could be higher if this figure includes part-timers or temporary full-time substitutes.

So adjusted for student population, Japan has roughly one third or more full-time k12 teachers than the US.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:
> On Oct 15, 2012, at 12:40 PM, Paul Tanner <> wrote:
> The number of classes that Japanese students attend per day are about
> 4 for early primary (only about 40-45 minutes each) and about 5 for
> late primary and middle school and above (about 50 minutes each at
> middle school and above), in some cases 6.
> That looks very similar to US classes, but I grant you, an hour less.
> Although our primary schools generally use a single teacher. I wonder how
> Japan schedules the teachers. Are you saying that they have twice as many
> teachers as us? It just seems hard to believe that Japanese teachers only
> teach 2 or 3 hours a day, albeit for many more days in the year than US
> teachers.
> Bob Hansen

Message was edited by: Paul A. Tanner III