Finland has the world’s best education system; has had for ten or fifteen years.
Finnish students clean up on international measures, and not just a few brainy lutefisk eaters.
Almost all Finnish students do well on international PISA measures in Science, Math, and Reading.
Given that B.C. is in the middle of a wrestling match over public education, what can we learn from Finland’s top ranked schools that might help our government in their struggle with B.C.’s teachers?
Is Finland cutting education funding each year?
Are the Finns increasing funding for private schools?
Is Finland fighting with their teachers?
Is Finland increasing rigour and competition, touting standardized testing, merit pay, and accountability measures?
Is Finland moving away from local professional autonomy and towards centralized accountability?
How about governance of schools? Is Finland moving towards a system where government, who may have little knowledge or training in education make the decisions about their school system?
The world’s best education system does none of the above. They do precisely the opposite.
What Finland can teach us, is what they have proven works in schools.
For twenty years, Finnish education has stressed:
- Equality of opportunity for all children (no public funding of private schools)
- Expecting and trusting teachers and schools to design, deliver, and assess student-learning.
- Early identification of learning difficulties and “whatever it takes” intervention with special needs students.
- Unanimous societal respect for teachers
- No standardized or high stakes testing.
- Highly trained teachers, with Masters degrees.
- Education system overseen by trained educators.
- More art, music, P.E.- less classroom time and homework
- Less competition, more collaboration
In short, just about every direction in which our B.C. government wants to take public education is exactly opposite to what has been proven to work in the world’s best schools.
Do yourself a favour. Google “What’s so good about Finnish education?”
If one does any research in the area of public education, the behaviour of our provincial government in dealing with teachers and schools is completely discordant with what works in schools and what we should be doing in publlc education.