What we can learn from Finland's education system

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  • Isaac44 Fort Myers, FL
    Oct. 10, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    What a fantastic article. Thank you! As soon as we begin to speak about these issues, guess what happens? Instead of staying on topic we make it into a political discussion of who should finance this. We make it into a voucher system. We ask if the State or the private sector should be looking after education. In the meantime, one more grade level had graduated (read- done poorly). I recall one retired politician telling me that the education portfolio was the easiest to handle. When the chips were done then one just needed to kick the education football. The parents of children were only interested for a period of time (usually that year) and as long as one made a promise, that was good enough. It helped the people forget most other things. The writer of this fine article said it so well by emphasizing the idea of culture. In Finland, the teacher is giving his respectful role in society. Education is valued. Children see this and act accordingly. In our culture, parents and teachers are shown no respect. Need I keep going? Again, thank you!

  • JMHO Southern, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 3:01 p.m.

    It seems as if educational reformists want to skim over what other countries do in the sense of making teaching an honored profession. Whether it is through paying for their Master's degrees, or paying a higher salary or even just society redeeming teachers. This is one way to retain the best and brightest. I used to joke to my friends that the only profession in America that won't help pay for your Master's degree is teaching.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Oct. 8, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    Finland, like Japan and the other higher-ranking nations, has a very homogenous society. The "diversity" and flood of immigration we have in the United States, along with teacher unions and the Department of Education makes it impossible for us to achieve high average scores.

    Our education "system" here needs to be scrapped; we can start over with vouchers, new standards, and trade schools which can filter out those who are not capable of doing higher standard school work. Teachers should be paid for performance and class size limited to something like 15. Excellent teachers should be well paid, but work a schedule more associated with other professional employees. The system we have can't really be fixed because there are so many problems. It's time to start over.

  • non believer PARK CITY, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 1:47 p.m.

    According to Abrams, average class size in Finland first and second grades is 19; in grades three through nine, it is 21. All science classes are capped at 16. Smaller classes were won by Finland's teachers union in return for agreeing to the elimination of tracking, as it would be too difficult for teachers to lead heterogeneous groups if classes remained large.

    So unfortunately, Utah schools will always be at a disadvantage and understaffed!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    Excellent, thought-provoking article. We need to transcend the tired & worn assumptions and stereotypes we've accumulated about how to best invest in society and prepare the coming generations.

    Very impressed that the Deseret News covered the Finnish education system and the challenge it presents to orthodox - and even many untested conservative - approaches to education.