Salon.com is taking a look at the Finland model of education. Its a refreshing look at a different approach to education reform. No one committed to the N. American model is going to like this very much:
So they began in the 1970s by completely transforming the preparation and selection of future teachers. That was a very important fundamental reform because it enabled them to have a much higher level of professionalism among teachers. Every teacher got a masters degree, and every teacher got the very same high quality level of preparation.
So what has happened since is that teaching has become the most highly esteemed profession. Not the highest paid, but the most highly esteemed. Only one out of every 10 people who apply to become teachers will ultimately make it to the classroom. The consequence has been that Finland’s performance on international assessments, called PISA, have consistently outranked every other western country, and really there are only a handful of eastern countries that are educating with the same results.
This really is a model we need to look at. Unfortunately though, given the domination of the false dichotomy of fiscal austerity or public services that pervades our current political discourse, we’re left watching from the sidelines.