Contributing writer for Wake Up World
America’s public school system is in crisis, with burned-out teachers and failing literacy rates, along with ongoing issues of bullying and violence. But the most telling sign of decay is our lackluster PISA, or Programme For International Student Assessment, ranking of U.S. high school students — which shows the U.S. stalled around 27th place in mathematics and 17th in reading. With all our standardized testing, long school days, mountains of homework and relatively high expenditure per student, we’re still falling behind.
In contrast, Finland has consistently ranked at or near the top in all three PISA competencies since 2000, placing first in science, second in math and third in reading in the 2006 survey. Curiously, the Finnish have an unorthodox — and seemingly counterintuitive — approach to education; an approach that some even view as a “slacker’s path” to academic success. And yet, however the Finnish system is viewed, its success is indisputable — and nations like the U.S. would do well to pay attention, and learn from their example.
Here in the United States, competition is so pervasive, we hardly notice it, let alone question whether it should have a place in the teaching our youth. But the Finnish see it differently. For them, equity in education is exceptionally important — and one of the main reasons why their students are successful.
“Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.” [source]
Recommended reading by Carolanne Wright:
[FACEBOOK]: http://www.facebook.com/joinwakeupworld (An interactive community of over 3,000,000)
[GOOGLE PLUS]: https://plus.google.com/112452105795129310867/posts