All Children Left Behind: What America needs to learn from Finland
We have a stupid public… but it’s not entirely our fault.
America ranks 17th in education according to The Learning Curve, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Who is first you ask? Finland. Well, they’re a smaller country. It’s easier. We’re 350 million people across demographics, plus an influx in immigrants, blah blah blah excuses. Time to own up to our lack of intelligence and do something that goes against the grain. Take a chance. Make a change. I'm not talking about suburban public schools, I'm talking about the entire country.
Forty years ago Finland implemented huge education reforms by going against the evaluation-crazed model that much of the West and most especially, America, swears by. I’m sure it wasn’t easy or popular. I’m sure the public had an outcry over it. However, the results speak for themselves- they have the highest rate of college attendance in all of Europe.
- The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education.
- There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16.
- All children are taught in the same classrooms.
- Finland spends around 30 percent less per student than the United States.
- Science classes are capped at 16 students so that they may perform practical experiments every class. I'm also positive they have passed the creationism/evolution argument.
- All teachers in Finland must have a masters degree, which is fully subsidized. Not a bad idea, small teachers, make smart students.
- Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates. Competition? That should be something America understands.
- Teachers are effectively given the same status as doctors and lawyers. Why? They don't perform heart surgery. They don't save lives... oh wait yeah, they're responsible for the future.
All of these make a better society, and as we speak roughly 3/4 of teachers are female. In order to have an insightful, well-educated population, we must invest more into our teachers. We value our children as much as we value our teachers. Period. Once we figure that out on a policy level, women will dominate the profession and will be relied upon more than ever to save the future.