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I have been to the mountaintop. I have trodden sacred ground. I have seen the light. I have been to Finland.
Because our Global Competition is basically every country doing the opposite of what school privateers and test profiteers tell us to have faith in.
This is an embarrassment to the Global Education Reform Movement the GERM that rolls out economic development plans to entire countries suggesting they will become richer countries if they privatize, standardize and de-professionalize education. None of the top performing countries got there with this stuff.
And these guys have no idea what to do with smart, little Finland. Finland is no mystery and it is no miracle. They decided 40 years ago that in a country with few natural resources, they would do well to develop the human beings in their society.
They believed that healthy, well-educated, compassionate human beings should form the foundation, not only of a good economy, but of good families, neighbors, and even a good democracy. They did their homework. They saw that private competition in school systems tended to shake out with wealth y families getting more for their kids than middle class and poor families.
As they had no brains to waste, they decided to invest in one, good public system where all kids would get what they needed whether their parents were rich or not. They decided to invest heavily in teacher recruitment and teacher preparation.
By design, they made the colleges of education a highly elite program where only the top university students were accepted with all expenses paid. There is a one-year residency under a top teacher for graduates. They make it impossible to hire a bad teacher.
There are no fast-track, short-cut, temporary teachers. There is no Teach for Finland. Trust is the key word that comes from politicians, parents, academicians, and unions — after a top notch teacher training for top ranked students; trust rules.
And they put in the hands of these skilled, career educators the tools, technology and time to collaborate, design, intervene and assess instruction, teaching and learning on the school building level. There are no state standardized tests except for the one at the end of 6th grade to guide intensive support to students to learn and the other at the end of high school to determine placement in higher education should you choose to attend.
They have the support staff they need to personalize the learning experience with tutors and nurses and psychologists and librarians and counselors. Parents and students are part of a non-threatening evaluation system in Finland.
Even preschoolers have a say! They are colleagues with the faculty and staff. The parents and students are included in the learning process. There is a natural bridge — a true relationship — between home and school. The design is comprehensive. For high school students who qualify, universities and trade schools are free.
Students know that if they work hard, high education is waiting for them. None of their families lose sleep, as our families do, over crushing college debt. Found students in Norway studying Hemingway: I talked with students and teachers and principals and parents and support staff.Yahoo Lifestyle is your source for style, beauty, and wellness, including health, inspiring stories, and the latest fashion trends.
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The control was a potato in no specific environment, meaning it is just sitting in air.