School days…

Last night I read a fascinating article (posted by someone on Facebook) in The Atlantic about the school system in Finland. As you know, this year I am studying to earn a masters in Jewish education and am doing a lot of thinking about all different types of learning opportunities. This article struck a chord for many reasons.

First, the notion that there are no private schools is fascinating to me. My parents sent me to public schools in Lala land and Minnesota because as MY MOM always said, “I believe in public schools.” I never knew exactly what she meant by this, except that she believed in some of the principles of equality that are espoused by the Finnish school system. There is a lot of talk in the Jewish community about the pros and cons of day schools. I do not have an opinion I am willing to share about this here.

Second, the Finnish system proves that standardized testing does not promote the best educative environment for students (or anyone who works in the school). The power of the individual school principal to fix problems and the classroom teacher to establish assessments as s/he sees fit.

Third, teaching in Finland is a serious profession. Every teacher has a masters degree and I would like to believe is paid accordingly for their knowledge and skill. The pervasive issues in the news; tenure, under-staffing, burnout, would fall away in this type of environment (it seems to me).

There are some other major points that are outlined here, especially about equality, social services, and food, that I am not fully emphasizing and are also very important. What do you think about these issues? I’d love to hear!

About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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