Scarsdale station area

Kuniko Katz's essays, articles and letters to the editors

Japanese companies should help: Scarsdale Inquirer, March 1, 1991

To the Editor:

1 thought articles such as your "Numbers hamper Asian assimilation at high school" (Feb . 1) should be read by the Japanese companies that send their families here, so I sent a copy to the Community Affairs Committee Of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York. I hope that articles such as yours, in local newspapers, will enable the companies to see the situation more clearly.

Three years ago, in an article in The inquirer (Some idea for the sake of the children)
, 1 said that the Japanese movement and the Japanese companies should be responsible for keeping abreast of the educational experiences of Japanese children living outside Japan to facilitate their re‑entry into Japanese society and to maximally utilize their experiences in international living and education. To improve the situation, 1 asked the companies to consider the following courses of action:

1. Study where their employees reside and which schools their children attend, then suggest and assist incoming employees in finding suitable housing in school districts that do not have heavy concentrations of Japanese children.

2. Establish a multi corporation funded institute to offer financial grants for English‑language learning‑enrichment activities to enhance existing programs when districts request them.

3. If it is not possible to avoid significant numbers of Japanese families in a school district, then the corporations should underwrite the construction of a Japanese‑language school or assist already established Japanese educational facilities to build full‑time K‑ 12 schools to meet the needs of Japanese families in those areas.

Unfortunately, neither the Japanese government nor the companies see the need to take such actions. Although there are some exceptions, most newly arriving families are still not well informed about their new communities. The mothers frequently tell me how surprised they are to find so many Japanese children in the schools. They relate that because they have to leave Japan on short notice (usually about three months), the families don't have much time to prepare before they come here. The father who arrives here before the family usually decides where to live based on recommendations of his predecessors, colleagues or realtors regarding the quality of a community, its schools and its commuting convenience to the city. The fathers rarely have time to visit schools before deciding where to live. As a result, certain school districts in the metropolitan area are now facing similar problems as Scarsdale.

In an article in the OCS News (a New York‑based Japanese newspaper) last December, 1 wrote how these school districts are trying to make Japanese children feel comfortable in their new homes. As an example, 1 cited the Scarsdale district, which has not only enriched its E.S.L programs but has also developed additional programs to help teachers understand Japanese students. 1 observed that the cost of these special programs created for mostly Japanese children by the district budget or outside foundations should be shared by Japanese companies. For the companies to be able to respond to the districts' requests, 1 propose that they establish a multi corporation funded institute to provide necessary educational materials, lists of professionals such as Japanese‑speaking doctors and translators, to dispatch lecturers and to assist financing special programs such as E.S.L when requested.

The institute could also provide orientation programs for the newly arriving Japanese parents with the cooperation of the parents who are living here. Parents should be informed of the importance of their participation in community and PTA activities so they can help their children to make American friends. Although many Japanese parents are doing their best to help their children, the lack of adequate orientation seems to make many others unable to realize the value of their participation in any local activities.

I hope the Japanese companies will realize what they are doing to their own children and decide to help them and their school districts.

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