What Washington can learn from best education system in the worldon November 14, 2012 @ 12:41 pm (Updated: 8:36 am - 11/15/12 )
"This would be our latest attempt to try and find that magic bullet that creates, if not a state full of genius kids, at least a state full of high school graduates ready for college," says Ross and Burbank host Dave Ross.
But will this change get the results everyone is looking for?
Dave decided to check in with someone that's witnessed real improvement in an education system and see if they have any advice for our state.
Pasi Sahlberg is a former official in Finland's education ministry. Finland holds the top position in the World Economic Forum's rankings of international education. The U.S. placed 15th out of 125 countries. Sahlberg says Findland's recent success comes from reform that began around 40 years ago.
When Dave pressed Sahlberg for the magic thing Finland did, Sahlberg forced to pick one thing, thought most important was their emphasis on making things equitable.
"When we started to build this current school system, we decided to invest heavily in equity, in other words make sure that every school is a good school and every child has access to a good education."
He says being the very best was never the goal.
"We didn't even speak about excellence. I think the dream of Finland was to have a good, basic public school for everybody."
That started by making sure everyone was prepared to learn, which meant incorporating certain services to try and put students on a more level playing field, says Sahlberg.
"If you want to make sure that you can close the achievement gap and that everybody will learn more. I don't see any other way than making sure that children have access to welfare services here," says Sahlberg, who explains they began incorporating dental, psychological and other health services into services provided by the school system.
"School is the only place that everybody goes to. That's why we embedded these things into our school system," says Sahlberg. "It's not socialism. It's realism."
Thinking about whether such a system would benefit education systems in the U.S. Sahlberg says he believes that any system can see results like those in Finland if they provide appropriate support to all children so they are ready for successful learning.
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