My JET stuff usually gets a number of hits, and the occasional nasty gram or flame-blog.
Today, I noticed that Shawn Thir over at Let’s Japan has come to a similar conclusion as I did about the latest sales pitch for the no-changes-at-all-to-JET side.
As Shawn said, yes, a lot of these newfound reasons for not changing JET would be laughable if brought to the Jigyo Shiwake. It’s the same kind of histrionics that appear whenever Japan seeks to make a minor change to any golden goose that connected expats get for themselves. That or some money scheme (like the Free Choicers) where a change might upset the where the yen flows and sits.
Well, do you want to know something? I am no big fan of JET, because I think it skews everything about real English education in Japan, and, yes, I don’t think we need junior ambassadors in training whose first job is being given a favorable deal by the country they are supposed to represent us in.
But I also recall writing a ton about how I think the dispatch system for English teachers in Japan is lousy and in need of reform.
So I’ve said that the junket is a problem, and I’ve also said that the junk-job system is a problem, too.
It’s supposed to be Happy Valentine’s Day, but I end up with the nasty grams just for my opinion. What gives?
So again, I ask, what is wrong with Teach for Japan? You can roll JET into it. You can kick the dispatch companies out of the business and administer it directly through the Education Ministry. It could still be contract employment, but with the understanding that this is really a career job. Those who just want to take it for the three years (or five, however JET turned out) can still do that.
It’s just, there would be no more of that je ne sais quoi that goes with the JET Program. The tradeoff would be that there would be no more getting ripped off working for the Eikaiwa dispatch industry. The extra $5,000 that the dispatcher gets would go right into the pocket of the young English lecturer.
Look, when the U.S. embassy staff (25 JETS and the charge d’affairs) is coming out strong for absolutely no changes to the JET program, the people who want to see reforms are really on the weak end of things. The sounds those guys are going to make are going to sound to the Japanese bureaucracy like they would be shutting down the adult escort business or something. And the JET will just stay the way it has been since Nakasone told Reagan that he was willing to raise the quota of Americans in Japan in exchange for more cars being sent to America.