10 January 2012

Finnish Schools, Polish Schools, US Schools

I found an article titled "What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success" which was written a couple of weeks ago and discussed the differences between the two countries methods and PISA test scores.  And what was continuously being brushed aside by Americans and was probably the most important key to the Finnish schools success.

I thought the article was interesting and decided I wanted to share it with you.

I also wanted to share some links to PISA test scores for other countries.

Poland 2000-2006 PISA scores, including explanations of education reforms.

PISA 2009 scores table for participating countries

What do you think about this large difference in education methods and test scores? 

Is your child in public school or private?  Mine at this point are in private school because I don't have any faith in the public school system where we currently live.

Would you want your children to have the same education as Finnish children have?  Personally, I would love that.  I think it holds true to the ideals set forth by both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

As a complete side note, did you notice that the girls in the first article's photograph are dressed differently than American girls?  Can you tell the difference?  Every girl in the photo is wearing very little pink, more variety of colors, no cartoon characters, dressed for comfort and their hair is pulled up.  It seems subtle but compare a group of American girls the same age in dress attire and their hair styles and it's actually quite different.

Na razie...


Lisa Noel said...

To be honest, at this point I would be up for trying something, ANYTHING different because what we are doing now isn't working. But I think the most logical thing to do is to start with something that is working elsewhere! So yes, I would be all about reform that took us more to the Finnish approach. I really do think the single most damaging thing in our schools is the ISAT teaching the power it has been given. Yes we had standardized tests in school but it wasn't the end all for teachers. I am ok with individualized progress testing which is done in our area through NWEA but the empahsis put on the ISAT testing puts unneeded pressure on teachers to teach specifically to these tests. Currently my son is stressed by the amount of material his teacher is trying to work through before the test and his a phenomenal student. Can you imagine how those who struggle (but still care) feel?? These tests take not only the joy out of learning but the joy out of teaching. I heard this week from a high school parent that they hear from their child too often that they are watching movies in class. But our elementary kids don't have time for movies. Most likely they will get a movie day to celebrate the end of ISAt testing but until then the pressure is on to plow through as much testing material as humanly possible! To me that is all kinds of backwards!

Mel S. said...

Very interesting article. I definitely do think that the American educational system is broken--both in the private and public school areas. The "teaching to the test" mentality is not helpful. When my daughter was in Montessori, she was challenged based on her own individual talents and likes. She seemed to grow a lot at that school. Now, she is in public school. I am pretty happy with what they are doing in science and reading. However, I am not satisfied with math. It does not seem that the math is being taught to reach all students based on their way of thinking. I do feel that each student learns differently and has different talents and we need to be able to find a way to tap into that. Another thing that drives me nuts is that our country does not emphasize the importane of learning a foreign language at a young age. We are so far behind other countries in that area. One of my dreams for my daughter is to master another language at a younger age than I did. So, in addition to school, she is attending French classes. The competitiveness addressed in the article is interesting. I feel that schools are less competitive now than when I grew up. Now, there is an emphasis on everyone being a winner. I wonder if this has been the experience for others?However, if we are discussing access to education, there is a clear issue with the quality of education students receive based on socioeconomic factors. Very interesting!