As our Governor in Delaware talks about all the changes we must have in education and our policy-makers debate over the laws surrounding these changes, we have forgotten one essential fact. What we have in education just doesn’t work. At all. We need to find the places where EVERYONE is happy with education. Places like Finland. I highly recommend you watch this four-part documentary on the Finnish education landscape.
One thought on “Why Delaware Needs To Emulate Finland With Education”
I am a teacher in Delaware and I was an exchange student in Finland when the educational system was overhauled into what it is today. I have experienced first hand how students are being taught there. Both of my host parents were teachers, so I was also able to get the teachers’ perspective on education in Finland as well. I love the model that works for the Finns. After having lived entrenched in the culture and keeping the Finnish way of life deep in my heart, I feel that it would be difficult for the USA to use their model. You can’t simply take a system and drop it into the US. It won’t work that way. Part of why the Finnish model works for them is because they have a completely different mindset about what education should be and the standards that should be set. The entire country believes in the future of their education. That belief is held by everyone! There were no behavioral issues, because it was expected to not occur. It was simply not tolerated. There were no classes for students who needed accommodations, the standards were the same. You got extra help or had support at home. Many of these basic ideas don’t exist in the United States. For the Finnish educational model to even have a chance here, we need to change the entire belief system of our whole country first. We need to get EVERYONE on board that education is a priority and not a dumping ground. Finnish teachers are paid well, respected by their students and parents, and the government allows those that know education best to make the decisions that need to be made. Standards are set and do not falter. If you don’t meet the standard then you don’t meet the standard. There are no exceptions. This is also why they can offer free university. Getting into the university is very difficult and competitive. Not everyone goes to college. There are only so many open spots each year and you have to be the best to get in. But graduating high school in Finland is also a challenge. They have graduation exams that have to be passed to get a diploma. It’s like a final exam for everything you learned in high school. If you fail one section by even one point, you don’t graduate. I know, it happened to a friend of mine who had moved to Finland from England.
Bottom line: it’s a great system, but it won’t work in the US unless we make some major changes in our thought process and expectations.