Why Finland has the best schools
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times
Posted: September 18th, 2017
Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No. 1 global rankings, including most literate nation. In Finland, children don't receive formal academic training until the age of 7. Until then, many are in day care and learn through play, songs, games and conversation. Most children walk or bike to school, even the youngest. School hours are short and homework is generally light. Unlike in the United States, where many schools are slashing recess, schoolchildren in Finland have a mandatory 15-minute outdoor free-play break every hour of every day. Fresh air, nature and regular physical activity breaks are considered engines of learning. One evening, I asked my son what he did for gym that day. They sent us into the woods with a map and compass and we had to find our way out, he said. In Finland teachers are the most trusted and admired professionals next to doctors. Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians, one Finnish childhood education professor told me. We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell businesspeople to stay out of our building. Skeptics might claim that the Finnish model would never work in America's inner-city schools. But what if the opposite is true? What if high-poverty students are the children most urgently in need of the benefits that, for example, American parents of means obtain for their children in private schools, things that Finland delivers on a national public scale.
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