Unless you've continued to be super busy living under your rock for a good part of the last decade, you're probably aware that Finland has the best schools in the world, at least as measured by the standardized test that is used to rank such things. Now, you would think that the US policy-makers and corporate education dilettantes who place such a high value on standardized test scores that they are subjecting American students to hundreds of such tests over the course of their academic life would be seeking to emulate the Finns.
But no, instead of learning from them, the corporate-style "reformers" have created schools with longer days, more homework, more paperwork, more high stakes standardized testing, and a federally mandated standardized curriculum, all of which has, according to the New York Times, resulted in lower math scores and exactly zero improvement in other areas. They are failing, they know they are failing, and instead of looking around and seeking to learn from those who are succeeding, they are doubling-down on their vision of public schools as test score coal mines.
Why aren't we learning from the Finns? Probably because what the Finns are doing in their schools (i.e., basing education on science) doesn't match their neoliberal nose-to-the-grindstone narrative of how to make America great again: you know, the one where carrots and sticks and "grit" are the primary tools of the trade. And, probably even more importantly, outside private corporations aren't growing rich from Finland's methods. No, the children are just growing up smarter, healthier, and happier. How does anyone turn a greasy buck from that?
It's quite clear that our political and business leaders have no interest in actual education. The evidence could not be more clear that these so-called "reformers" are only about imposing their will upon our schools and banking money from the labor of our children. It doesn't make sense any other way.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has taken a look at Finnish schools as part of his new movie "Where to Invade Next." Here is a clip from his visit with teachers.
This is my personal blog and is not a publication of the Woodland Park Cooperative Preschools. I put a lot of time and effort into it. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
I am a preschool teacher, writer, speaker, artist and the author of "A Parent's Guide To Seattle".
For the past 15 years, I've taught preschool at the Woodland Park Cooperative School. The children come to us as 2-year-olds in diapers and leave as "sophisticated" 5-year-olds ready for kindergarten.
The cooperative school model allows me to work very closely with families in a true community setting.
I intend to teach at Woodland Park for the rest of my life. I love the kids and I love the families. It's an incredibly rewarding job.