Friday Food for Thought

This week has a been a crazy week! Today we said goodbye to our 2013 senior class with our traditional school send-off rally. This is a time when we give the seniors a goodbye and welcome next year’s freshman classs. To say the least, I have been off on my reading and therefore this post contains only one thoughtful moment this week.

If you have not seen all of the focus on the Finnish education system going around the edusphere, you’ve probably not been keeping tabs in this arena for the past year. At least on a monthly basis, something comes around comparing the Finnish system (one of the best in the world) to the US system and how the latter really fails to compare. This week, I came across this article on my Twitter feed: “What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools?” (Washington Post, May 15, 2013). My first thought, Great…another article dissing the US system and praising the Finnish. We get it; they’re great, we’re not. While this article points to many differences, it doesn’t necessarily come out and say this. What the author, Pasi Sahlberg, is really pointing out is that a lot of the current reforms in education and the current constraints on teachers is what is hampering our education efforts. I love the very last paragraphs in which he hypothesizes that if Finnish teachers were to come teach in say, Indiana (he’s choice of states, not mine), that they would have a difficult time getting students prepared for the standardized tests. He says: “Education policies in Indiana and many other states in teh United States create a context for teaching that limits (Finnish) teachers to sue their skills, wisdome and shared knowledge for the good of their students’ learning.” I believe many teachers have had the complaint to just let us teach. There are many other high points in this article that I think it is a worthwhile one to read. Enjoy!

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