More on the Finnish Kids
I agree with Justin’s comments on the Wall Street Journal article about Finnish education. One point I’d like to add is that individual teachers have more flexibility in Finland than their counterparts in other countries do:
Finnish teachers pick books and customize lessons as they shape students to national standards. "In most countries, education feels like a car factory. In Finland, the teachers are the entrepreneurs," says Mr. Schleicher, of the Paris-based OECD, which began the international student test in 2000.
Finnish teachers are encouraged to improve the curriculum and try new things; contrast that with the SLPS’ ambivalent reaction to a math teacher who brought up his students’ MAP scores with a creative approach.
That’s not to say we should adopt all aspects of the Finnish system. I don’t think cheerleading, school bands, and competition to get into colleges are necessarily bad. But it wouldn’t hurt the U.S. public schools to give teachers a little more leeway.