Howard Gardner is a U.S. educator who did leave it -- for a professional opportunity -- spent five months in Finland with his family. He can now share his perspective on why Finland has the best schools.
|Source: Lonely Planet|
Another key is a leap of faith -- counterintuitive, perhaps -- by which inattention to frequent testing leads directly to excellent results on annual tests. Who ensures that the students are learning? The same people who took care of this when I was a kid in a very different United States: teachers. Not the accountability industry or ETS: teachers.
Another key: recess outdoors. While many (most?) U.S. children no longer spend 15 minutes a day outside, their Finnish counterparts are outside 15 minutes out of each hour.
|In the U.S., parents allowing this sort of behavior (walking to school) could actually be arrested for endangerment, because of television-induced misconceptions about child safety.|
I actually know a fair number of politicians, and I spend time talking with them about education. Individually, they respect teachers and want the best for children. After all, most of them once were children and many of them have children or grandchildren in school. As individuals, many of them also respect teachers. After all, they are successful people, and all successful people have teachers to thank for at least some of their success.
Collectively, though, something goes awry, and even well-intentioned legislators underfund education while over-regulating it. For us to catch up with Finland, this needs to change.
Finland's lead in education rings true for me, as I did a bit of work with a Finnish social scientist when I was in graduate school. He was more articulate in English (his second or third language) than most people who speak it as a first language.