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Bernie Sanders: The Finnish Success Story

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: usa, child poverty, education, Finland )

- 4128 days ago -
they...have free high-quality child care, free college and graduate school education and have, according to international reports, the best primary and secondary educational system in the world? Is there something that we can learn from that model?


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Jessica C (178)
Tuesday April 1, 2008, 6:03 pm
A glimpse inside Finnish pre-uni education. Very interesting!
What Makes Finnish Kids so Smart?

I think the U.S. could benefit greatly from the Finnish model.


Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 1, 2008, 6:22 pm

Great link, Jessica, thank you. There's something else that I learned from a Finnish-American friend that might also have some bearing on the subject. The Finns are a highly ethical people and they value both education and independent thinking. Ironically, what makes them so competitive in education and technology is the fact that they're a more cooperative society than we are.

I agree that we could benefit greatly from their model, but our leaders want to keep us dumbed down, like the old joke about us being mushrooms -- they keep us in the dark and feed us a lot of manure. ;)

Doris N (245)
Wednesday April 2, 2008, 5:26 pm
The articles Mark and Jessica provide are in no way exaggerated - the excellent performance of Finnish pupils and students has been a very long time trend.For example, already in the 1970's more female students than male students won an academic masters degree, and with demands among the severest in Europe - most Finnish high school students are tri- or four-lingual... Studies show that the educational level of the mothers is a very important factor when it comes to educational performance of the children. So that might be one part of the explanation.
Note also that schoolbooks are provided for free in Finnish schools, as well as tickets for commuting and also vital: there are free well made nutritional lunches for everyone, everyday - including a lot of vegetables and no sweets. Many schools forbid sweets and sweetened drinks and there are no possibilities for buy junk food and such at school. Also gymnastics and sports are mandatory for everyone several times a week at school, and there is a lot of crafts, music and arts, also mandatory for all children from 7 to 18 years old - I guess Finns forget to emphasize these traits in the Finnish school system as they take them for granted - but all these traits contribute to the overall high performance, because intelligence and the health of the brain is built up from so many different factors. Human capacity needs to be nurtured in manifold ways.
In comparison with many other school systems in Europe, Finnish teachers and education in general in Finland has a higher standing in society. Every term the main teacher of a class meets every pupil's parents for discussions, sometimes teachers visit every pupil's home to help communication between school and home in the best interest of the children...
Education (from kindergarten to university) is provided in the minority languages whenever there are enough pupils in an area to form classes and schools (the minority children can thus have to travel somewhat longer to get to school, but they can also choose to attend a majority school closer to home).
Two special rules are also important, a) in Finland schooling is mandatory, but not school-attandance - parents may arrange the schooling otherwise, but the children will eventually be tested - and b) every class and lesson is public, anyone can come in (providing s/he is not disturbing) and witness a lesson. Home schooling is very unusual and other people than the occasional curious parent is seldom seen in a classroom, but in thinking about the difference between Finnish schools and those of other countries I have come to believe these basic rules are nevertheless important as they show a basic attitude towards schools, teachers, students and education.

Finnish schools are constantly discussed and criticized, there is no end to the demands for improvements, it is a very engaging topic in Finland, everbody has opinions and suggestions...

Ceci Blaugrane (563)
Wednesday April 2, 2008, 10:45 pm
Thanks for the great article, and for the added information, Doris! I am a teacher in Finland and this is all true. :)

Doris N (245)
Thursday April 3, 2008, 6:56 pm
I've had a feeling for some time that Vermont is the equivalent of a Nordic Country of the USA...
Education is the hallmark of civilization and the best lever for enhancing progress and development, in any country worldwide - especially the eduction of girls is so crucial...
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