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The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System – VIDEO

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System – VIDEO

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System, is the title of a documentary by Harvard’s Tony Wagner, which looks at the way that the Finnish education system delivers consistent, high-quality education without testing, with long holidays for students, and with teachers who are considered national treasures.

Here’s an excerpt from what Wagner has to say:

“There is no domestic testing except a very quiet auditing program to test demographic samples of kids; not for accountability, not for public consumption, and not for comparison across schools. The fascinating thing is that because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers. Their motto is “Trust Through Professionalism.

The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that’s without any testing at all…

Finland is rated among the highest in the world in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. It’s not your grandfather’s socialist country in any sense of the word.

Wagner goes on to say that beyond that, what he finds so striking is that the reforms in [the U.S.] have been driven and led by businesses for the last quarter century. It was David Kearns at Xerox and Lou Gerstner at IBM calling for a national summit on education and they didn’t invite any educators. They invited CEOs and governors and senators and congressmen.

Let’s hope this will shake up thinking about American education.

Watch the video here:

Photo Credit: xmacex via Creative Commons

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84 comments

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12:08PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

I voted 'leaning no'. That video certainly didn't convince me of anything. More information is needed. I don't think we can compare America to a country like Finland where they have a far more progressive social system than we have here in America. There may be many other factors then which lead to higher achievement among their students than simply what goes on in their schools.

10:03PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

awesome. the american education system sucks. it kills kids' spirit, makes us tired and drained, and fills kids with biased misinformation.

8:02PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

thnx for this

11:06AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Too much anxiety on the part of adults about the academic performance of school children drives the children crazy. Lighten up.

5:55PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Danny W. Thank you for the green star and your comments.

5:25PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

I wish that the people who go to national summits on education and make decisions about school systems were all teachers, or ex-teachers, or were actively involved with children in a classroom on a regular basis. It's sad to think that the big cats from Xerox and IBM would be the ones to take decisions that will shape the mind of young people.

1:52PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

"The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that’s without any testing at all…"

How do they know? If there's no testing, they must be using some other metric, but the article gives no clue what that may be.

That said, I have a number of friends, and friends-of-friends, that are teachers, and I think all would support a move towards a system like Finland's.

7:26AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

all this education and no cigar to the world!! both bushes went to top schools, the ceo's, bankers, big corp chairmen, wall street exectives and top notch lawers and most of well respected millionairs gone to the best schools. look at the world, what do you see..... our world is a mess ran by greed and fear!

7:08AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

I have long been horrified at the little school children bending over walking to school with the heavy backpacks on their backs. I am sure they all grow up thinking they are carrying a heavy burden. Education should be a joyous thing as it is the natural bent of every child to learn. Unfortunately we are making something else of it. I think we are and have been going in the wrong direction with our educational system and it looks like Finland has incorporated a better attitude for students and teachers alike.

4:13AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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