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.
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!
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.
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.
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!