Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why the U.S. will not follow Finland's successful education reform model


            Chinese model. How to increase test scores and suicides.



 Finland is well known for the success of its students in many areas as measured by international surveys. The PISA survey takes places every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey looks at the performance of 15 year-olds in reading,, math, and science. In every survey since 2000 Finland has ranked at or near the top.The U.S. has not come near the top group. However the U.S. is adopting Chinese or East Asian models of standardized tests and the goals of measurement and striving for better and better results.  Finland starts out with an entirely different goal equity.
    Many of the key methods that the U.S. has adopted are rejected in Finland. The Finnish reforms did not even strive for excellence but for equality so that all students would have the same chances. This is assured by having an excellent education system with all the schools available to all students with no fees even through the complete post-secondary system. The idea of a tuition free university system is a reality in Finland. It is not even a Utopian fantasy in the U.S. A small country without any special resources nevertheless is able to provide free education at all levels for everyone. The U.S. the greatest economic power in the world has huge tuition fees and students are often saddled with huge debts when they graduate.
   Another difference between the U.S. and Finland is that Finland has no private schools. Except for some state funded church run schools everyone attends public schools. Finnish teachers are well paid  and well qualified for their jobs. They are regarded as professionals and are given responsibility for making up their own tests rather than having standardized tests for everyone. There is no merit pay. Teachers are regarded as professionals.
    In the U.S. schools compete with each other to see who can do best in evaluations based on standard tests. Finnish schools do not compete they cooperate with another. For much more see this Atlantic article.



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