What Minnesota can learn from Finland's schools

  • Article by: HECTOR GARCIA
  • Updated: December 11, 2012 - 10:23 PM

Racial gaps will do us in here. One place to turn to for guidance is Finland.

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probsolverDec. 11, 12 9:46 PM

children of marginalized communities are empowered with the resources needed to compete successfully in subsequent stages of education ---- translation: give us more of your money for the small segment of society that I represent

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jdlellis1Dec. 11, 1211:12 PM

Minnesota schools lead the nation in curriculum focused on tolerance, diversity, green, inclusion, anti-bullying, and political correctness. Administration and sadly the general population is so busy ensuring no one is offended that the time required to focus on education basics (reading, writing, arithmetic and critical thinking skills is secondary. The other tragedy is the belief that an increase in funding results in an increase in performance. What will increase academic performance is parents (yes plural) taking responsibility for their child's education.

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mgmckeDec. 11, 1211:33 PM

Minnesota needs more teachers of color! With the combination of Minnesota nice, political correctness, and paranoia, our basically "lilly-white" teaching core cannot get the job done. It's not that a teacher of color is inherently better than a "white" teacher, but the students do not relate and therefore do not respond as well to them. It gets back to the old Disney adage, "People don't care what you know, until they know that you care." Young students long to be taught, at least in part, by people that look like the person in the mirror.

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dazel21Dec. 12, 12 3:51 AM

I think a world of entiltements is the problem why go out a learn and strive to get a job when they know they will be given food,shelter,cell phone,health care.Problem is they are smart smart enough to say why put 40hrs in when we can make as much doing nothing.

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luzhishenDec. 12, 12 7:47 AM

"I think a world of entiltements is the problem why go out a learn and strive to get a job when they know they will be given food,shelter,cell phone,health care." I think you need to learn more about Finland and reread the article. The Finnish system - last time I checked - is radically different from the Japanese cram-school model that we've been expected to implement here...one great feature is having students have the same teacher for many years.

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SnippetDec. 12, 12 7:55 AM

>>> but the students do not relate and therefore do not respond as well to them (white teachers. <<< Any student that cannot learn from a white teachers brings problems into the classroom that are not going to be solved by changing the color of the teacher.

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ddellwoDec. 12, 12 8:11 AM

Comparing Finland's minority population to Minnesota's is like comparing apples to xylophones. Finland is HIGHLY selective about who is allowed to become a citizen of that country, accepting only the brightest and well-established into the "nanny state" Mecca they have created. A high percentage of Minnesota's incoming minority population are destitute, 3rd world refugees who have little-to-no background or appreciation for education, and see life on social welfare programs here in the US as a exponential improvement over conditions in their native country. Add in the social collapse being experienced in the family units of our "native" minorities and you have an almost impossible situation that cannot be resolved with more money or simply sticking a minority teacher into the classroom! Not saying you don't attempt to do anything, but comparing Minnesota to Finland is a farce!

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nshoreDec. 12, 12 8:29 AM

I don't believe in a magic Finnish solution or the Easter Bunny. This racial gap has been discussed forever. It persists despite the best efforts of dedicated people, and an incredible amount of money and resources. What if it's not solvable? Create a system based on the best possible outcomes connected to the reality of the situation rather than forever tilting at windmills.

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gandalf48Dec. 12, 12 8:44 AM

Didn't anyone see the new test results? Minnesota beat Finland when it came to standardized testing (for 4th and 8th graders)...perhaps it's time Finland learned something from Minnesota. I think the key is to treat all students the same, expect the same from them in the classroom and don't single out students for being part of some sub-group...doing that leads to the student believing they are different in the sense that either they are entitled to good things because of historical injustices or that they simply won't get a fair shot at life so why even try. That's the problem, that lack of motivation and the sad thing is that our education system glorifies diversity which sows the seeds of apathy.

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hiramfosterDec. 12, 12 8:58 AM

What's curious to me is that this writer applauds the Finnish model, urges it's acceptance here, yet seems to disagree with what Finland actually does according to the sources he cites: Here is what he says: "Minnesota could incorporate, as part of a larger reform, a phase-in period from preschool to sixth grade, during which children of marginalized communities are empowered with the resources needed to compete successfully in subsequent stages of education. This period would be modeled on the examples of Finland and American history; its benefits would include overall educational excellence, culture and language synergism to address globalization, economic strength and innovation." But here, according the link the author provided is what Finland does: "(1) When Finnish kids turn 7 years old they go into compulsory primary school during nine years. All kids start at the same level, no matter what socio-economic background they have. They learn the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes of lifelong learning, which is consistently paying off with better academic achievement in later grades. These primary schools are places where playing and learning are combined with alternative pedagogic approaches, rather than mere instructional institutions."

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