Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
September 1, 2016
OK… I realize I’ve been ranting about Amairikuhn edgykayshun above my normal allocation of one rant per month, but then Mr. M.H. sent this article, which I read, and I simply have to pass it along, because it is saying essentially everything that critics of the Amairikuhn “system” of edgykayshun – from John Taylor Gotto to my co-author, Gary Lawrence and I, in our most recent book, Rotten to the (Common) Core – have said. Indeed, in our book, Dr. Lawrence concluded with an entire chapter on “more is not better.” More homework, more standardized tests, more in-class hours, more computers, more ebooks, are not better, and Finland is there not only to make the case, but to make it in spades, for the Scandinavian nation consistently scores at the top of the world for education, utilizing a system that has none of the hallmarks of its American counterpart:
In case you missed them, consider these statements:
Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No 1 global rankings, including most literate nation.
In Finland, children don’t receive formal academic training until the age of seven. Until then, many are in day care and learn through play, songs, games and conversation. Most children walk or bike to school, even the youngest. School hours are short and homework is generally light.
Unlike in the United States, where many schools are slashing recess, schoolchildren in Finland have a mandatory 15-minute outdoor free-play break every hour of every day. Fresh air, nature and regular physical activity breaks are considered engines of learning. According to one Finnish maxim: “There is no bad weather. Only inadequate clothing.”
And my personal favorite:
Finland doesn’t waste time or money on low-quality mass standardised testing. Instead, children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality “personalised learning device” ever created – flesh-and-blood teachers. (Emphasis added)
So, what do we have?
1) consistently high achievement educationally in all areas when compared to other nations spending(wasting) billions on stupid fads like standardized tests and Common Core (think the USSA here);
2) light homework
3) less time spent in class
4) teaching by real human beings and not computers
5) no to few standardized tests
But you can add yet another bit of information for the reason for Finland’s success:
“Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians,” one Finnish childhood education professor told me. “We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell businesspeople to stay out of our building.“ (Emphasis added)
In fact, any Finnish citizen is free to visit any school whenever they like, but her message was clear: Educators are the ultimate authorities on education, not bureaucrats, and not technology vendors.
In other words, Finland has told Mr. Gates, Mr. Zuckerberg and billionaire busybodies and politicians, to take a hike, and has opened its schools and classrooms to the parents.
One is tempted, when reading this, to conclude that Finland took one look at America, and the “Amairikuhn edgykayshun sistum” and concluded “we don’t want any of that here.” The result is a system that respects children, parents, and the all-important role of the human teacher, a system that relies on little standardized testing, a stress-free classroom environment, and a culture that realizes that big corporate capitalist “solutions” are seldom beneficial to the people it falsely claims to serve.
And the other result is a consistently high standard of performance and a system that works.
It’s time for the USSA to learn this lesson: the progressivist educators, with their batteries of teachers colleges, certification requirements, standardized tests, and a system run by and for the bureaucrats and businessmen, are turning the USSA into a third world cesspool of stupidity and mediocrity.
The system needs to be scrapped, and the billionaire busybodies removed from the process.
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