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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Point Breeze Penguins on Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:23 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:Like I said that's what you seemed to be suggesting with the software example. No biggie.


Not at all.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:23 pm

Point Breeze Penguins wrote:
Pavel Bure wrote:Like I said that's what you seemed to be suggesting with the software example. No biggie.


Not at all.

Ok.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Guinness on Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:14 pm

It's almost like you guys are saying that our top-down, assembly-line factory, one-size-fits-all model of education isn't all that efficient, isn't it?

Kinda crazy how the closer you keep things to the individual, the better they operate, idn'it?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:34 pm

The education system is slowly moving in the right direction. More emphasis on individual education. More discretion given to teachers about how to teach material. Now if we could just get rid of those pesky NCLB assessments.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:49 am

MRandall25 wrote:
count2infinity wrote:i guess we all can't be as lucky as I am...


If you don't mind me asking, what do you do now instead of teaching?


i was just goofing around. I'm a grad student now, going after a PhD in chemistry. I'm actually still teaching because to get my stipend I have to teach undergrad chem classes.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby DelPen on Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:25 pm

The Philly Metro area is roughly the same size in population as Finland. If those 6 million people were able to decide how best to school their kids and not have to adhere to broader regulations from federal and state policies we may see better things.

But when you need to treat 300 million people the same everyone ends up losing.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby tifosi77 on Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:57 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:As soon as those surveys start testing the top 5% of 15 year old American students and comparing them with the world they have very little merit. At 15 every child in America is still required to go to school however the rest of the world does not operate like this. The American system is considered poor when compared worldwide is because all American students are tested not the top students where as the rest of the world only has top students left at that age because they want to be in school and work hard to be there instead of being forced to go there.

In my opinion the problem with America's school system is two fold 1. NCLB and 2. Forcing children to go to school when clearly some don't belong in regular school and should be in trade schools learning a skill. So no I don't buy into the Finnish way of teaching because the students tested/polled do not represent their entire population while the Americans tested do.

I saw a piece on 60 minutes about 15 year ago that compared Japanese students with American students. At age 18, the Japanese student had already attained the educational equivalent of a 4-year BA or BS education at an American university, and the drive to get into a top Japanese university drove them to insanely competitive levels. However, once they got into school, they really didn't further their education.... it was a sort of stasis tube for four years, such that when they emerged with their degree they were at about the same level as the American students who graduated with a BA or BS.

Draftnik wrote:My father was an Econometrics professor and he always would tell me that my generation (I'm 47) would be the first generation of Americans to have a lower standard of living (at the macro level) than their parents.

But he was only off by one generation.

MWB wrote:NC currently does math and reading starting in 3rd grade; science in 5th and 8th grade; and I believe their working on incorporating writing.

Unintentional comedy is still comedy.

:lol:

Point Breeze Penguins wrote:This is what is wrong with a Federal Department of Education. The attempt to force Florida to do what they are doing in Maine and force Mississippi to do what they are doing in New York is a fool's errand.

Point Breeze Penguins wrote:Florida on the other hand spends the 43rd-most per student yet places in-or-near the Top 10.

Speaking of Florida.........

I've mentioned before here that I consider myself to be remedial in maths. I was always trundling along getting Cs and Ds, barely passing... I even failed Geometry and had to repeat it the next year. (passed it the second time with a 92 average, which still baffles my mind to this day) However, I was always 'A' track or accelerated in English, social studies/civics/history, and even biology. So I had these manic report cards every marking period with 90s and high 80s in those advanced classes and 70s or 60s in maths, and I'd spend the bulk of my days in classes with the top 5% of students and then be with the rest of the lunkheads for algebra or whatever.

Now, the summer between 7th and 8th grades my family moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL. (We only stayed there for about 9 or 10 months, but that's a story for another thread) Around July it was time to register me for the upcoming school year. I had to take a placement test to see where I fit.

I did so well - including maths - that the school suggested advancing me a year and putting me in 9th grade.

How does one account for a universal testing scheme when two different school systems produce such wildly divergent standards?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby tifosi77 on Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:05 pm

Point Breeze Penguins wrote:For example, say you work at an office and are given new software. "Teaching yourself" would mean being able to learn and execute the new software without having to ask 14 different people how it works.

This specific example hits a particular sore spot with me....

[long rant against Lotus Notes]
Spoiler:
"Ah yes, here you go New Employee. Sink or swim time with the company's assets! Don't worry about productivity, just sort out this new database software."

:?:

I say this from experience, working at a company that takes a very hands-off approach to its IT operations. Individual users are left to install software updates and new virus definitions on their own machines, and - the fly in the ointment - there is no formalized training on any of the software systems we use. This is particularly onerous as we rely on Lotus Notes for 90% of our work, something that hardly anyone has any experience with when they come to the company. As a result, we figure out the bare minimums of the software needed to get through the day and have little to no understanding of the bulk of what the software can actually do for us.

Earlier in 2011 we were actually shopping for a 3rd party contract management system that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to license and taken months to implement. When we presented our research to our bosses in Japan they asked why we didn't just use Notes for that. We said we had no idea Notes was capable of that. Japan said "We've been using it to do those functions for years". No one ever thought it might be a good idea to explain that to anyone.

Notes has a particularly odd function in that you can edit text fields in a DB entry by double-clicking on it. This is how we have to do things, because it treats the entry like one contiguous stream. But if you hit the 'Response' button, the text field is treated like an email.... and any previously attached documents will be lost. You'll still see that a doc was posted to the DB, but you just won't be able to open it anymore; you'll have to find the last time the DB was edited via the double-click method to open that document. And only the Legal department and the person who originated the DB link can edit the text via the double-click method; anyone else CC'd on the thread who wishes to chime in can only do so via Response..... which then breaks the document chain. This is a HUGELY annoying feature, as the whole reason we use Notes is for document review. And we just found out recently that this was how Japan wanted our Notes installation set up; they didn't want anyone editing the DB link maliciously. (I kid you not) Never mind that we do this all the time as it is...... at least once a week I'll send a doc back to someone, realize that I posted the wrong version or forgot to make a certain edit or whatever, and then re-open the link and re-attach the corrected doc and hit 'Save' without sending a new notification.

And by the same token, we are asked to take an IT security test every calendar quarter - 100% is passing. And some of the questions on this test are.... well, they're hilarious. Clearly translated from Japanese, they are often the most nonsensical Engrish constructions you could imagine. "I do not have password for the printing on it. It is okay to use password of Boss if he gives me it, because I am trusted. True or Not True"

I do, generally, agree with the notion of teaching yourself, however. I just don't think the specific example you gave was a particularly good one, and it made me all cranky and stuff.

[/long rant against Lotus Notes]
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:53 pm

DelPen wrote:The Philly Metro area is roughly the same size in population as Finland. If those 6 million people were able to decide how best to school their kids and not have to adhere to broader regulations from federal and state policies we may see better things.

But when you need to treat 300 million people the same everyone ends up losing.


When you and others say that everyone is taught the same because of the Department of Education, what do you mean? I think there are some common misconceptions. Each state has its own curriculum, develops its own assessments, and sets its own standards for teachers.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby DelPen on Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:49 pm

MWB wrote:
DelPen wrote:The Philly Metro area is roughly the same size in population as Finland. If those 6 million people were able to decide how best to school their kids and not have to adhere to broader regulations from federal and state policies we may see better things.

But when you need to treat 300 million people the same everyone ends up losing.


When you and others say that everyone is taught the same because of the Department of Education, what do you mean? I think there are some common misconceptions. Each state has its own curriculum, develops its own assessments, and sets its own standards for teachers.


Then lumping the entire country together seems silly, doesn't it? Maybe compare Finland vs Maryland? Pennsylvania? Even then you have differnet counties or towns.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:14 pm

Again, I think a lot of people are missing the point... They (the Fins) don't give a crap about comparisons.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:17 pm

Another interesting piece from the article, which addresses some things brought up here:

Pasi Sahlberg goes out of his way to emphasize that his book Finnish Lessons is not meant as a how-to guide for fixing the education systems of other countries. All countries are different, and as many Americans point out, Finland is a small nation with a much more homogeneous population than the United States. 

Yet Sahlberg doesn't think that questions of size or homogeneity should give Americans reason to dismiss the Finnish example. Finland is a relatively homogeneous country -- as of 2010, just 4.6 percent of Finnish residents had been born in another country, compared with 12.7 percent in the United States. But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn't lose its edge in education. Immigrants tended to concentrate in certain areas, causing some schools to become much more mixed than others, yet there has not been much change in the remarkable lack of variation between Finnish schools in the PISA surveys across the same period.

Samuel Abrams, a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Teachers College, has addressed the effects of size and homogeneity on a nation's education performance by comparing Finland with another Nordic country: Norway. Like Finland, Norway is small and not especially diverse overall, but unlike Finland it has taken an approach to education that is more American than Finnish. The result? Mediocre performance in the PISA survey. Educational policy, Abrams suggests, is probably more important to the success of a country's school system than the nation's size or ethnic makeup.

Indeed, Finland's population of 5.4 million can be compared to many an American state -- after all, most American education is managed at the state level. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a research organization in Washington, there were 18 states in the U.S. in 2010 with an identical or significantly smaller percentage of foreign-born residents than Finland.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Rylan on Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:22 pm

Finlands population could be compared to many American cities.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Guinness on Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:39 pm

DelPen wrote:But when you need to treat 300 million people the same everyone ends up losing.


:thumb:

This.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:17 pm

Guinness wrote:
DelPen wrote:But when you need to treat 300 million people the same everyone ends up losing.


:thumb:

This.


On the smallest level, it would help if school boards were more open-minded to change (and some teachers as well). Or above that, states. Again, states can make changes if they want to. Of course, change often takes money, and so many schools have tinkered with (ie wasted money on) stupid stuff that people don't want more change.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:20 pm

my favorite is a change that will take 10 years to really have any sort of effect on the quality of education and 2 years in they change again.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby AlexPKeaton on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:43 am

Teachers should not get tenure after 2 years. The teacher's union is the entire problem with education in this country. That and any moron can get certified to teach (and many do).
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:44 am

AlexPKeaton wrote:Teachers should not get tenure after 2 years. The teacher's union is the entire problem with education in this country.


In PA it's 3... and to say "the entire problem" is the union is a joke.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby AlexPKeaton on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:48 am

count2infinity wrote:
AlexPKeaton wrote:Teachers should not get tenure after 2 years. The teacher's union is the entire problem with education in this country.


In PA it's 3... and to say "the entire problem" is the union is a joke.



The teacher's union is evil and should be outlawed. I'm against all public unions for constitutional corruption reasons, however the teachers union is above and beyond constitutional reasons and into the evil region. I would vote for any republican president who uses Obama's new presidential assassination powers of american citizens to assassinate teacher union leaders.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:50 am

Evil? wow...
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:02 am

AlexPKeaton wrote:Teachers should not get tenure after 2 years. The teacher's union is the entire problem with education in this country. That and any moron can get certified to teach (and many do).


So I guess states that don't have teacher's unions have perfect schools. Good to know.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby AlexPKeaton on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:05 pm

MWB wrote:
AlexPKeaton wrote:Teachers should not get tenure after 2 years. The teacher's union is the entire problem with education in this country. That and any moron can get certified to teach (and many do).


So I guess states that don't have teacher's unions have perfect schools. Good to know.


Obviously you need to pay a salary up to par with other professional fields to attract actual professionals out of engineering, law, etc, instead of the engineering and science drop outs that go into teaching now (with some exceptions obviously). That is apparently what Finland and the the elite private schools do. The great public schools like USC and Peters and Hampton have interview lists a mile long, so they can easily cherry pick the best teachers. I suspect the states without teachers unions do not generally attract the upper tier of teaching talent, nor can they pay for professionals.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby AlexPKeaton on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:08 pm

count2infinity wrote:Evil? wow...


Completely.

1. They are the largest source of corruption in the country (i.e. campaign contributions)
2. They keep lousy teachers in work, ruining the education and future prospects of countless thousands of kids.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:17 pm

AlexPKeaton wrote:
count2infinity wrote:Evil? wow...


Completely.

1. They are the largest source of corruption in the country(i.e. campaign contributions)
2. They keep lousy teachers in work, ruining the education and future prospects of countless thousands of kids.

Lobbyists are awesome! :pop:
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Point Breeze Penguins on Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:11 pm

Physical_Graffiti wrote:
AlexPKeaton wrote:
count2infinity wrote:Evil? wow...


Completely.

1. They are the largest source of corruption in the country(i.e. campaign contributions)
2. They keep lousy teachers in work, ruining the education and future prospects of countless thousands of kids.

Lobbyists are awesome! :pop:


The AFT and NEA have huge lobbying firms, that is correct.
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