What drives Finland's education success?
- In a CNN opinion piece, Pasi Sahlberg, the former general director of Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture, shares three components of Finnish education that are currently missing from American schools.
- The practices he cites are education equity (pre-K for all, funding for special services and health, holistic curriculum), teacher collaboration time, and play (students must get a 15-minute recess after every class, and school days are shorter).
- Sahlberg also shares flaws that he sees in America's education system: too much focus on high-stakes tests, too much emphasis on school choice, and novice, unprofessional teachers.
The visiting Harvard Professor concludes by sharing what he believes should be a good next move if the United States wanted to remedy this situation. "One affordable and smart step would be to terminate policies and practices that prevent American teachers from teaching what matters most to their students. Redesigning current punitive accountability for schools and abolishing unnecessary standardized tests would remove a big burden from schools and leave teachers with more time to focus on real learning," he writes.
Over the past decade, Finland has gained prestige and attention for its impressive education achievements. The country is a top performer on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in 65 nations around the globe.
Finland's current education minister, Krista Kiuru, has also been outspoken regarding her nation's education success.