The Secret of Finland's Success
The Public School Insights blog posts a interesting interview with Reijo Laukkanen, a veteran of Finland's National Board of Education. Asked what explains the consistently high international rankings of the Finnish education system, Lukkanen starts with a one-word answer: Teachers. Other eye-catching points:
We don't have any evaluation of teachers. The working morale and the working ethics of the teachers are very high, and we can also trust that they are competent; they know what to do.
[In Finland] only a small [number] of those who apply to teacher education can really get there. For those in upper secondary education, teacher education was the most popular choice [for a career].
Teachers, if they have high-level education, should be given leeway enough to use their own innovation capacity.
Commenting on the interview, Renee Moore says there's an obvious lesson here for U.S. education leaders:
If we in the U.S. diverted the time and some of the money we are now wasting on ill-conceived educational reforms into the recruitment, professional preparation, and support of quality teachers, we could see a real closing of achievement gaps among the various student groups within the country and between our students and their global competitors.