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

Postby MWB on Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:22 pm

Say you just eliminate unions.... What then determines the pay scale? Will districts then simply hire and fire based on the cheapest option available? Maybe a teacher with 15 years experience who does a great job will be fired for a cheaper version.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:28 pm

count2infinity wrote:The best way to change that? Supply and demand! Did you know that most schools pay the chemistry teacher (a very specialized and intense amount of work to get the degree...believe me ;)) and the history teacher (dime a dozen, no offense history teachers out there) the same amount? The nation is just absolutely saturated with elementary ed and history teachers and there just isn't a demand for them. So pay those teachers that take more/harder training to get the degree more money.


Isn't that similar to what is done now with paying more for teachers who have a Masters or are National Board Certified?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:27 pm

MWB wrote:
count2infinity wrote:The best way to change that? Supply and demand! Did you know that most schools pay the chemistry teacher (a very specialized and intense amount of work to get the degree...believe me ;)) and the history teacher (dime a dozen, no offense history teachers out there) the same amount? The nation is just absolutely saturated with elementary ed and history teachers and there just isn't a demand for them. So pay those teachers that take more/harder training to get the degree more money.


Isn't that similar to what is done now with paying more for teachers who have a Masters or are National Board Certified?


so history teacher with masters degree > physics teacher with a bachelors?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:28 pm

and i'm not trying to pick on history teachers, but it's true... i talked to the one guy that was on the panel that hired me. he told me i was pretty much their only option. 6 people applied, 3 were actually qualified, one had a GPA of about 2.0 and the other was so awkward and didn't seem to be able to deal with people that he would have never made it as a teacher. There are just certain areas where the teachers should be paid more than others.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Draftnik on Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:44 pm

Academic achievement (at the macro level) is directly tied to per capita income. PSSA scores in Western PA school districts are ranked in almost the exact same order as income levels or inversely to poverty levels.

I'm amazed at how little most parents care about their children's education, even in a relatively affluent district like Peters. If I knew what I know now when I built my house in 97/98, I definitely would have built it in USC. They offer significantly more AP courses than Peters and most districts in the South Hills and offer the only Baccalaureate program in the state. If you want your children to have the best possible educational opportunities in the South Hills, USC is the only place to live.

At the macro level, I don't think the American public has the appetite to stop mandatory free education for all students through HS (can kids in some states drop out at 16?) Therefore, we need to come up with strategies to elevate achievement of students in middle and lower homes. I think that should start with educating parents about how they can enhance their child's educational outcome. I think the income-standardized test score link shows the main problem is in the homes, not schools of students scoring poorly on achievement tests.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby PghSkins on Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:47 pm

count2infinity wrote:"There's no word for accountability in Finnish,"


This explains Janne Laukkanen!
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:12 pm

count2infinity wrote:
MWB wrote:
count2infinity wrote:The best way to change that? Supply and demand! Did you know that most schools pay the chemistry teacher (a very specialized and intense amount of work to get the degree...believe me ;)) and the history teacher (dime a dozen, no offense history teachers out there) the same amount? The nation is just absoluIely saturated with elementary ed and history teachers and there just isn't a demand for them. So pay those teachers that take more/harder training to get the degree more money.


Isn't that similar to what is done now with paying more for teachers who have a Masters or are National Board Certified?


so history teacher with masters degree > physics teacher with a bachelors?


No, that's not what I'm saying. In specialized schools I agree that certain teachers should be paid more. What about teachers who specialize in teaching learning disabled kids to read? Would you do it simply on a supply/demand basis or how would you value different teachers?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Pavel Bure on Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:22 pm

Draftnik wrote:Academic achievement (at the macro level) is directly tied to per capita income. PSSA scores in Western PA school districts are ranked in almost the exact same order as income levels or inversely to poverty levels.

I'm amazed at how little most parents care about their children's education, even in a relatively affluent district like Peters. If I knew what I know now when I built my house in 97/98, I definitely would have built it in USC. They offer significantly more AP courses than Peters and most districts in the South Hills and offer the only Baccalaureate program in the state. If you want your children to have the best possible educational opportunities in the South Hills, USC is the only place to live.

At the macro level, I don't think the American public has the appetite to stop mandatory free education for all students through HS (can kids in some states drop out at 16?) Therefore, we need to come up with strategies to elevate achievement of students in middle and lower homes. I think that should start with educating parents about how they can enhance their child's educational outcome. I think the income-standardized test score link shows the main problem is in the homes, not schools of students scoring poorly on achievement tests.

While it is accepted that family support is one of the most influential factors in school success for a child it is not the reason for poor scoring on achievement tests. The tests themselves are flawed but that's a whole other discussion.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Draftnik on Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:55 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:While it is accepted that family support is one of the most influential factors in school success for a child it is not the reason for poor scoring on achievement tests. The tests themselves are flawed but that's a whole other discussion.


Standardized tests are relevant IMO because we need common benchmarks to compare school districts and colleges need a common standard to compare applicants. I disagree with the premise of the Atlantic article that competition is bad, but on the other hand I agree we have a problem with performance of American students being linked to income at the macro level. People (not necessarily you) chime in and point to the possibility of somebody overcoming their economic hardships, but at the macro level it isn't probable in the US that has been the case over generations.

I think its too easy to blame teachers and their unions for students from middle & lower income homes performing worse than students from upper income backgrounds. The teachers with poorer students have harder jobs to get good student outcomes relative to teachers in affluent districts. If the parents aren't drilling the importance of doing well in school into their kids heads I don't think there is much teachers can do to reverse the poor home influence.

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. He was wrong, but I think that it is inevitable that the generation younger than me will definitely see a regression in standard of living at the macro level.

Globalization is mitigating the economic viability of many traditional forms of American middle class employment. That trend will only increase over the next decades so it is crucially important that we improve our economic capital as a nation.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Pavel Bure on Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:05 pm

Draftnik wrote:
Pavel Bure wrote:While it is accepted that family support is one of the most influential factors in school success for a child it is not the reason for poor scoring on achievement tests. The tests themselves are flawed but that's a whole other discussion.


Standardized tests are relevant IMO because we need common benchmarks to compare school districts and colleges need a common standard to compare applicants. I disagree with the premise of the Atlantic article that competition is bad, but on the other hand I agree we have a problem with performance of American students being linked to income at the macro level. People (not necessarily you) chime in and point to the possibility of somebody overcoming their economic hardships, but at the macro level it isn't probable in the US that has been the case over generations.

I think its too easy to blame teachers and their unions for students from middle & lower income homes performing worse than students from upper income backgrounds. The teachers with poorer students have harder jobs to get good student outcomes relative to teachers in affluent districts. If the parents aren't drilling the importance of doing well in school into their kids heads I don't think there is much teachers can do to reverse the poor home influence.

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. He was wrong, but I think that it is inevitable that the generation younger than me will definitely see a regression in standard of living at the macro level.

Globalization is mitigating the economic viability of many traditional forms of American middle class employment. That trend will only increase over the next decades so it is crucially important that we improve our economic capital as a nation.

Basing benchmarks off of a one time test that is given when the school year still has two months left is why I believe the tests are flawed. If they really want to have benchmarks there needs to be a way to test more than one time per school year. Basing how much funding and how good/bad a school is doing on a one time test that includes subject matter that hasn't been covered as of yet is quite frankly silly. On top of that the standardized tests from state to state are not uniform. For example PA only tests reading and math so those are the subjects that get focused on while science and social studies get pushed to the side. A state like North Carolina for example tests if I remember correctly writing, reading, math, and science... I'm digressing a bit. The bottom line is that the tests could be used to set a benchmark but not based on one time testing.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Kraftster on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:01 am

count2infinity wrote:I worked/went to school in Bedford County. There are 5 public schools there... I've had this idea for a long time that I think would work, but would likely never happen. The two biggest schools in the county are pretty much centrally located. Keep those two as "regular" high schools. That leaves 3 other schools... make one a math/science accelerated school, one an ag/tech/trade school, and one an arts/business/english school. Everyone can go to the two "regular" high schools, but you have to test/qualify for the 3 specialized schools. If you really think about it, by high school kids have a good idea as far as what general thing they want to do with their life. Make it so that if they change their mind, they can transfer if they qualify, but limit the transferring to a certain number of times. I realize it's a lot of work, but I think that it'd work great given time for people to get adjusted... but then again, I don't have a PhD in education and i'm not the Department of Ed so what do I know???


I could not disagree with this more. I am shocked to hear you say this. I don't think most kids have a good idea of what they want to do with their life until well into undergrad education.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby ulf on Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:42 am

npv708 wrote:
itissteeltime wrote:
count2infinity wrote:
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.


For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.


I've said it for years... high school isn't for everyone.


That's true. I think you could make an argument that there's a ridiculous amount of 14 year olds that are rebellious and decide theyre too cool for school, only to go on and become brilliant minds. There is something to be said for keeping kids in school. 14 year olds don't know anything. I'm also not totally a NCLB fan.


NCLB is a disaster. I could probably go into a massive rant about it, but won't for the sake of this discussion. It emphasizes everything that's wrong with America. It eliminates the "middle class" of education, for both schools and students. The richer schools get richer, the poorer schools get poorer and the smarter students get more help, while the less intelligent get little help. In an ironic way to look at it, NCLB has created an education knowledge gap between the have and the have-nots. Schools that need the most help are the ones getting the least help, while massive cheating scandals have been exposed nationwide. NCLB just contributed to the downfall of a system that has not been updated in structure since the 1890's.

I consider NCLB one of the biggest failures of the Bush Presidency and that should say a lot.

I disagree that smarter students get more help. I graduated 5 years ago and was one of the "smarter"kids. Nothing about high school was challenging at all. I felt like teachers focused on the kids that weren't likely to get proficient on the PSSAs.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:07 am

ulf wrote:
npv708 wrote:
itissteeltime wrote:
count2infinity wrote:
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.


For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.


I've said it for years... high school isn't for everyone.


That's true. I think you could make an argument that there's a ridiculous amount of 14 year olds that are rebellious and decide theyre too cool for school, only to go on and become brilliant minds. There is something to be said for keeping kids in school. 14 year olds don't know anything. I'm also not totally a NCLB fan.


NCLB is a disaster. I could probably go into a massive rant about it, but won't for the sake of this discussion. It emphasizes everything that's wrong with America. It eliminates the "middle class" of education, for both schools and students. The richer schools get richer, the poorer schools get poorer and the smarter students get more help, while the less intelligent get little help. In an ironic way to look at it, NCLB has created an education knowledge gap between the have and the have-nots. Schools that need the most help are the ones getting the least help, while massive cheating scandals have been exposed nationwide. NCLB just contributed to the downfall of a system that has not been updated in structure since the 1890's.

I consider NCLB one of the biggest failures of the Bush Presidency and that should say a lot.

I disagree that smarter students get more help. I graduated 5 years ago and was one of the "smarter"kids. Nothing about high school was challenging at all. I felt like teachers focused on the kids that weren't likely to get proficient on the PSSAs.

That doesn't seem to be what he's talking about to me: He's referring to wealth while you're referring to intelligence.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby neophool on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:01 am

I have a question.

Why would a corporate-run big banking-controlled corrupt government (that cares only for the bottom dollar and short term financial gains with almost zero moral compass) want a more educated, more aware, more empowered general public? Why on earth would they want more and more of the general public capable of critical thinking, and the willpower to act on it?

Now, before everyone laughs at me and tells me to put on my tin-foil hat, just think about the question.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Wrangler98 on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:21 am

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

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:28 am

Wrangler98 wrote:Image

What's with the Hipster beard, brah?
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:43 am

Pavel Bure wrote:Basing benchmarks off of a one time test that is given when the school year still has two months left is why I believe the tests are flawed. If they really want to have benchmarks there needs to be a way to test more than one time per school year. Basing how much funding and how good/bad a school is doing on a one time test that includes subject matter that hasn't been covered as of yet is quite frankly silly. On top of that the standardized tests from state to state are not uniform. For example PA only tests reading and math so those are the subjects that get focused on while science and social studies get pushed to the side. A state like North Carolina for example tests if I remember correctly writing, reading, math, and science... I'm digressing a bit. The bottom line is that the tests could be used to set a benchmark but not based on one time testing.


NC currently does math and reading starting in 3rd grade; science in 5th and 8th grade; and I believe their working on incorporating writing.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby MWB on Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:47 am

ulf wrote:I disagree that smarter students get more help. I graduated 5 years ago and was one of the "smarter"kids. Nothing about high school was challenging at all. I felt like teachers focused on the kids that weren't likely to get proficient on the PSSAs.


All districts are different, but in most you've got a separate set of classes for the "smartest" kids (now how effective and challenging those classes are differs) and a separate setting or classes or level of help for the "lowest" kids. For the 80% in the middle there's not a whole lot. I think we need to start focusing on that middle section so that they can be pushed to higher levels. Making education more individualized is the best way to do this.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:10 am

Kraftster wrote:
count2infinity wrote:I worked/went to school in Bedford County. There are 5 public schools there... I've had this idea for a long time that I think would work, but would likely never happen. The two biggest schools in the county are pretty much centrally located. Keep those two as "regular" high schools. That leaves 3 other schools... make one a math/science accelerated school, one an ag/tech/trade school, and one an arts/business/english school. Everyone can go to the two "regular" high schools, but you have to test/qualify for the 3 specialized schools. If you really think about it, by high school kids have a good idea as far as what general thing they want to do with their life. Make it so that if they change their mind, they can transfer if they qualify, but limit the transferring to a certain number of times. I realize it's a lot of work, but I think that it'd work great given time for people to get adjusted... but then again, I don't have a PhD in education and i'm not the Department of Ed so what do I know???


I could not disagree with this more. I am shocked to hear you say this. I don't think most kids have a good idea of what they want to do with their life until well into undergrad education.


then go to the "regular" high school. I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of my students would be able to look at those 4 different schools and pick out exactly which one is for them. the other 25% could go toe the regular school and go from there. Also, if you read my previous post when someone questioned that sentence, you'll notice that I don't mean that incoming freshmen know EXACTLY what they want to do with their life. In fact many do not, but a majority could have a pretty good idea as far as which one of those school types would work best for them. My little sister just entered 9th grade this past year, and I can guarantee you if she were to look at those school choices she would pick the science and math school in less than a heartbeat, and a lot of the students that I personally taught would LOVE to go to that ag/tech/trade school. Like i said, a lot of people will disagree with my idea, and that's fine, but I honestly think it'll work.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:12 am

MWB wrote:
ulf wrote:I disagree that smarter students get more help. I graduated 5 years ago and was one of the "smarter"kids. Nothing about high school was challenging at all. I felt like teachers focused on the kids that weren't likely to get proficient on the PSSAs.


All districts are different, but in most you've got a separate set of classes for the "smartest" kids (now how effective and challenging those classes are differs) and a separate setting or classes or level of help for the "lowest" kids. For the 80% in the middle there's not a whole lot. I think we need to start focusing on that middle section so that they can be pushed to higher levels. Making education more individualized is the best way to do this.


Oh, the middle section is certainly being concentrated on at many schools with these standardized tests. why? here's the mindset that a lot of teachers have: the upper level kids are going to pass it, don't worry about them. the lower level kids aren't going to pass it, don't worry about them. concentrate on those borderline students.

I don't agree with the mindset at all, but unfortunately a lot of teachers and administrators feel that way.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Point Breeze Penguins on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:16 am

It is a false dichotomy to compare Finland to the U.S.A.

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

Postby Gaucho on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:22 am

Agreed. It'd make more sense to compare Florida or Mississippi or New York to Finland.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Point Breeze Penguins on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:24 am

Considering there are 4x as many people in New York State than Finland....
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby Idoit40fans on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:24 am

As I suspected before reading it, this is something that is much easier to do in a smaller country.
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Re: What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school succ

Postby count2infinity on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:24 am

I think the whole point of the article is to not compare anything to anything. Make all the schools equal (give them all the same funding and opportunity) and there'd be no need to compare anything. But that's socialism and 'Merica hates socialism!
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