Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Young Superstar Mayor is Fighting to Bring School Choice to his City…and We’re Not Talking about Cory Booker…

We’re talking about Toru Hashimoto, the Mayor of Osaka, Japan. This 43-year-old-mayor is the newest superstar in Japan having started his own national party. Called a “political maverick” by The Economist, Hashimoto, like Cory Booker, is putting off a run for national office because he still has to do work in his own city.

At the top of Hashimoto’s priorities is reforming Japan’s education system. His party, the Japan Restoration Party, believes in creating self-reliant individuals who can support a self-reliant nation. The party aims to dismantle the pyramid model of education by implementing a national voucher system—including at the university level—to promote competition. Hashimoto also believes in allowing local governments to choose their own education systems. Not surprisingly, The Economist notes, Japan’s teachers unions are opposed to Hashimoto’s reforms.

And Hashimoto is not just talking about vouchers, he’s working to bring them to Osaka.

While Japan will look to see where Hashimoto will go and what he will do in the future, education reformers should take a close look at where Japan goes with education reform and what school choice could look like in Japan.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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