Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I was at an Usborne Books At Home Open House last night. The UBAH Consultant asked a very interesting question: "What country's children are the best readers." (I am paraphrasing, can't remember the exact quote.)
There were all sorts of guesses and Asian countries were mentioned several times (just a little note: the US was not even mentioned - and since we live here, I think that is really sad). Do you want to know what her answer was?
Drum roll please.......................
Are you surprised? I was. (O.k. Did the flag give it away?) Well, that took place last night and then this morning I ran across this article here about the success of Finland's schools. The whole article is very interesting, but this is one of my favorite parts...
"There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town. The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html#ixzz20ylVUmd7
I have often thought that people try to run things that they know nothing about. For years I wondered why government tries so hard to control education (they are politicians - they should stick to politics, educators should stick to education, etc.) In a simplified example, would you want a non-French speaking person to teach you and/or your child French before you go on a trip to France? Not the best idea right? You look for someone qualified, a French teacher/instructor, a friend who lived in France for awhile and is fluent in French. Or best yet: a native born, lived in France his whole life, person to teach your French. And if you can get someone who lived in the exact area that you will be visiting is even better.
Now, I will get off my soap box (because I could go on and on about it). I just thought the article was very interesting. The fact that I had never heard about Finland's successful school system before yesterday and in less than 12 hours I have seen/heard about it twice caught my attention and I thought was worth mentioning.
Please go to this link and read the rest of the article. It talks about how the drop out rate is substantially lower than the US and they spend less per child on education than the US and yet still more children go on to higher learning after High School than the US. They say that they prepare children to learn how to learn, not to take tests. That is one MAJOR problem that I have with our school systems here. Our teachers teach to the test (I'm not blaming the teachers because it comes from higher up, much higher up and trickles down). It is a real pet-peeve of mine. I cannot stand that my children are being taught to take standardized tests and are not being taught. This is the main reason that I have considered home-schooling.
I do not currently home-school because I think there are other benefits to the school system, but those are quickly disappearing.
Finland, I salute you on your education system and what you are doing for your children!!!!!!!