Finland number 1 country for education

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Upsadaisy, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I just saw a story on the news about this. They went to Finland and found that Finland had decided just 4 years ago to improve education in that country.
    *High school graduation rate is now 98%.
    *Teachers come from the top 10% of graduating college classes.
    *All must have master's degrees.
    *There are 3 teachers per class - 2 teach, 1 works with struggling students.
    *There is a culture of appreciation of education and of parental support.

    They are tops in performance among developed countries. Finland is only about the size of metropolitan Atlanta.

    What do you think? Could it be done on a larger scale or does our political squabbling prevent us from making headway? Is it our culture? Overcrowded schools? (Let's skip the topic of testing in this discussion, please.)
     
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  3. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I think this is a biggie. All I can say is that this week I had a back to school night where only 10 parents showed up. I also gave a test today and handed out crossword puzzles to early finishers. Apparently, they'll only do wordsearches. Crossword puzzles require thinking and so does reading from my classroom library so almost all of them chose instead to sit and stare.

    I love my students and I'm sure their parents care on some level but I'm just overwhelmed by the apathy.

    And certain news commentators will refer to an educated person as an elitist. That sure doesn't help.
     
  4. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    It probably is not possible unless we lessen the amount of entities feeding from the trough. If power/decision-making was handed to local authorities, I definitely think we'd see plenty of districts with similar statistics.

    Think of schools/districts that you visit, and you are *wow*... stunned/amazed/happy that this school is amazing in all it's dealings and programs they have going--that's great management, succeeding almost in spite of anything external. You could definitely see a community band together, and pour themselves into creating an education environment like that mentioned (Finland).

    But with an entity like a "Department of Education", with all it's red-tapetitude, the standards, the tests, all the superfluous garbage that gets funneled down the line... it practically prevents efficiency (and actually creates the situation that allows mismanagement, skimming, and outright corruption--I really feel this way)... I can't see how it could be done.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    98% of what? 98% of their youth? Or just 98% of those that start high school? How do they get to high school? Do they get chosen from the best and brightest of those in lower grades?

    I think things are a lot easier on a smaller scale but I think our biggest problem here in the US is the overwhelming sense of entitlement. People expect so much from the school system but they aren't willing to put anything toward it. I got fussed at by a student once because I did not have a pencil for him to use in my class. Nevermind that I placed two dozen in the jar the day before. And he took two of those 24 - once in my study hall and once during my class. It was MY job to spend MY personal money on his supplies. While he had the latest iPhone. @@ Later that day my principal spoke to me about the 'incident' - turns out he called his mother (during a bathroom break) complaining about having to borrow one from a friend and she called the principal over it. When things like THAT change we will have a fighting chance. When ALL parents are like the ones who rally behind teachers and demand the best out of their own children we will start to see a change. We need to get rid of bad teachers. We need to get past being PC all the time. We need to stop focusing on squeaky wheels while the able or 'good' students play second fiddle. We need to stop trying to make all instruction the same for all classes and all students.
     
  6. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    I also heard that Finland's poverty level is only about 2% so that is something else they really have going for them. I was just reading this on edweek
     
  7. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Interesting to see that Finland's success in education is not only and sorely atributed to the great teachers. However, in our country, we are the only ones to carry the burden of improving education regardless of the conditions we are forced to face.
     
  8. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Another thing to add, Finland's students don't have to go through standarized testing and teachers are trusted completely about the progress of students. School hours are also shorter.
     
  9. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    I don't think there is a chance for that to work in the US or work nearly as well if it was to be implemented.

    Too many people that just don't care.
     
  10. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Everything in America is about the money. If we move the money away from other welfare programs to education, we'd see better results. And, in most cases, better education creates better abled people--less burden on welfare. What is supposed to be a temporary bandaid for many, has turned into a permanent crutch. I won't get into politics, but better education will lower poverty, promote higher jobs and salaries, and break the cycle of poverty in many cases. By the same token, our culture would see having three teachers as excessive.

    Basically, I don't see America ever being that way, but I do see us one day being much more supportive (financially included) of education.
     
  11. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Interesting points you've all brought up. (Any posts relating to politics, the president, etc. were unapproved, by the way.) I agree that our cultures are so very different and that poverty does play a big role, as does the sense of entitlement that kids sem to have.

    I would think that the 98% graduation figure pertains to those enrolled. Gosh, in FL, it is something close to 50%, which is so pathetic.

    Smaller classes and more individual attention would make a difference, of course, but I worked in a private school with only 10 to 14 kids in a class and the kids still displayed a lack of work ethic (though they were almost always polite and sweet).

    I'm going to go watch that video now.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I watched both videos and they are very interesting. Kids don't start formal schooling until they are 7. Teaching is considered a high status profession!
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    how we calculate drop out rates is ridiculous in NC. If a student moves out of the district to another school four miles down the road, she is considered a drop-out. If a student has a baby and misses a semester but comes back she is considered a drop out because she did not finish in four years. Likewise, most of our early colleges have a 0% graduation rate. The programs are designed to have students take five years so they can earn both a HS diploma and an associate's degree. Since they do not graduate in four years, they dropped out. @@

    It is polictically incorrect to offer a track for trades in many of our schools. It harks back to the days of segregation, I'm told. So many students who would be better off learning a trade see college as an impossible dreams and just quit instead of going for something they could actually do after graduation.

    We have students who quit school because they do not like the dress code. Come on... something is really wrong with a home that allows a teen to put a higher priority on clothing than an education. How could a school possibly fight something like that?
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    All of that is crazy, NCS. Here, the dropout rate is real - and they want to tighten the requirements and have all kids take alg II - when so many of them can't pass alg I. It will just encourage more dropouts. Then again, too many kids just sleep through class and worse. Some of our schools are just scary.
     
  16. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    I'm moving to Finland!
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Hahaha. And how adorable were those little kids?
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    ft~I thought that too!
     
  19. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    "Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden."

    Well, I guess free market solutions do produce wealth that leads to social excellence after all. They survived the global near depression without a stimulus package! Now they are producing amazing educational results. Of course it may help that they only have 5,250,275 people, which is less than the population of Manhattan on a normal Tuesday. Ever notice that small schools always seem to put up bigger numbers than these consolidated mega schools. Seems small school systems like Finland are just the same model in contrast to the small school results in the US.
     
  20. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Ok my friends, some of you get ready to bite your tongues!

    "by 1972. Finland’s version of the U.S. No Child Left Behind was passed in the Parliament..."

    "While many school districts in the United States want to maintain local autonomy, Finland has a common curriculum that is strictly followed."

    "14% of males drop out before completing 10th through 12th grades."

    http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/how_much_does_a_teacher_earn_in_finland


    This random site says the typical teacher salary in Finland is 31,848 Euros. Right now, that's equivalent to 31,848 x 1.364 = $43,440. Not too much more than the 'average' US teaching salary.

    http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/how_much_does_a_teacher_earn_in_finland


    Nothing is free in the world, Finland has some of the highest taxes in the world.

    "With a marginal tax rate of 46.6 on average workers, Finland has the fourth highest such rate in the world. However, unlike many similarly taxed countries, Finland has managed to have a stronger overall economy despite its taxation."

    http://www.businesspundit.com/12-countries-with-the-highest-lowest-tax-rates/
     
  21. Liljag

    Liljag Companion

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    I think that Finland is a very interesting country when it comes to Education (although maybe it is because it is just a ferry ride away from where I am now). What I continuously see neglected though, when someone brings up the topic of Finland's education, is the fact that Finland's immigration rate is extremely low. This means that almost everyone has grown up in the same system with relatively the same culture and thereby are in relative agreement about the importance of education and training of teachers. I remember when a visiting professor from Finland came to one of my classes and told us that the main reason why the Finnish system works so well was due to this fact. Hence, everyone starts off at the same level and, unlike countries such as Sweden, which has one of the highest immigration rates in the world, most everyone is at the same level in terms of language, etc. when starting. But this almost never seems to be brought up when discussing about the successes of the society. Or the fact about how difficult it is for anyone who has not gone to a Finnish teaching college to become a certified teacher in Finland so, in other words, almost all certified teachers have the same teaching model backround and use the same curriculum (although we also have one curriculum).

    It is a wonderful system yes but it would be hard to implement in any other country other than Finland.

    I do not see a problem with the taxes though. You never have to worry about medical problems in Finland since it is covered by the taxes, education, travel, etc. It is the same in my country so I guess we have something in common (except ours is a bit higher). We also did not have a stimulus package but our economy is quite strong and the unions are quite powerful here.
     
  22. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Liljag, nice to hear some input from a Scandinavian.
     
  23. Liljag

    Liljag Companion

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    It's what I am here for. That and the free fruit basket (Wait, there is no free fruit basket in this forum? Ah well, I guess I will just go on reading and posting until there is one :) ).
     
  24. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    "Later that day my principal spoke to me about the 'incident' - "
    I'd be interested to know if your principal supported you!!
     

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