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What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

Stashed in: Creativity, Education!, Awesome, education

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Americans tend to think that competition leads to educational excellence... but Finns think equality does.

The Finnish educational system (teachers do whatever they want) sounds like the opposite of the South Korean system (which is all about cramming a specific curriculum of materials so students can test well):

Finland has no standarized test, and teachers have as much flexibility as they need:

Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system's teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. "There's no word for accountability in Finnish," he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."

I'd imagine this creates very creative people who perhaps do not have as much book knowledge as, say, the South Koreans.

If Finns are so creative, how come like half of them work at Nokia making shitty phones? At least Koreans make flat-screens and super-violent movies and maybe cloned puppies. SO THERE, PANDA.

Nokia really got lost in the transition from regular cell phones to smartphones.

Both the Korean system and the Finnish system seem better than the American educational system.

But maybe I'm just "grass is greener"ing this issue.

Actually I think that Americans used to think equality was more important in education than they do now. When I got expelled from school, one of the things they kept telling me was that no matter how good I was at academics, the extra resources required to keep one person happy were not well spent... and that those resources would be better spent making slightly underperforming students do better.

I agree, nowadays the American educational system seems to be about giving the best whatever they need, and letting everyone else struggle.

I tend to look at education the same way I look at healthcare:

-With all the right resources and smart people running the show, we can do absolutely astounding things in both (and at the apex there's no better place for either than the US.)

-Both these these arenas scale TERRIBLY and are the poster boys for crippling bureaucracy.

Nobody has been able to deal with either issue in a way that offers cutting edge results, cost effectiveness and efficiency. You can have two of the three.

Is there any state in the U.S. that is doing a particularly better job than other states?

Thanks for that article. It re-affirmed for me that California is a disaster:

California's 71 percent graduation rate puts it squarely in the bottom 10, but that number looks downright rosy compared to other red states: Mississippi clocks in at 62 percent, while Nevada pulls up the rear with 56.3 percent of students graduating from high school.

California's average might be misleading. Adjust for SF/LA and I think that number would drop much like per capita wealth in NY state would plummet if you did not include Manhattan.

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