Re: Shorter school years,fewer bus rides,less athletics.
posted at 7/16/2009 4:50 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Shorter school years,fewer bus rides,less athletics.
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: Shorter school years,fewer bus rides,less athletics. : Can you tell us more about Finland, and how it differs from a township model? I agree that our system starts to underserve kids after the primary grades, but I'm not sure we've targeted exactly why. One aspect I'm keen on is the dumbing down of history via poor quality text books. (Reuben - any observations here?). I wonder if the same is true across subjects...textbooks always strike me as agenda driven and inane. I have reviewed a little bit of the data on expenditure per student, and it does seem true that merely spending more does not result in a better product. But I'm somewhat of a mind that the culture is at least as much to blame as the schools, if not more. Parents must assume at LEAST half of the blame here. A well parented child can excel even in a mediocre school. It's all about individual effort, at the end of the day. How can kids watch as much TV as they do, and expect to be competitive? We live in an anti-intellectual culture. American adults don't read nearly as much as their European counterparts. Surely, this must also be a factor. What kind of message are those parents who also watch the average 4-5 hours of television per night sending to their kids? How many of those kids are staying up too late, watching crappy programming with their parents? Too many, is the basic truth. Be wary of scapegoating, and driving well intentioned, bright teachers out of the system - you could wind up with exactly the opposite result from what you are looking for. It all starts at home.
Posted by Xaphius[/QUOTE]
The latest ranking of international educators placed Finland atop the entire crop of industrialized nations. There was a good article in the New York Times or Fortune about how they did this.
First, like the old parochial schools they tested the 8th graders to see which ones should be educated further in academic subjects. It is similar to our SAT,MEDCATS,or GRE tests.It is meant to screen out.
Secondly,they found Finns read more something important to readers and writers. Most school systems cheapen use standardized tests which rely on multiple choice tests which involve critical reading skills and because of handwriting,a skill which is not emphasized in our modern world of computers.
More school systems do not like using essay tests because grading might be subjective. These secondary systems also reject oral examinations which can demonstrate an ability to create and be articulate.But,both of these require much more money since it is done on an individual basis.
It can also be more subjective if appearance or temper are involved.This lack of appearance criteria or temper testing reflects the cheapness of the present educational establishment and the fear of inequality. Many countries advocate uniforms for just this reason.Oral exams would also lead to more courses in rhetoric despite the fears of students and parents.
Historically rhetoric was rejected because of the immigrant fears regarding grammar and diction of their children who had been trained to live in a bilingual world.
The Finns and Hungarians write and speak differently from either the romance or Germanic language groups in Europe.Traditionally Latin,German, French or English were the languages used in religion, diplomacy or business. Finns and Hungarians stood alone and had to adapt more to learn languages.
With this historical background you can see why Finns scored better on most tests.They were forced to learn to survive in a competitive environment.
It is a shame our system refuses to accept the screening of 8th graders for it shrotchanges those with verbal, artistic,mechanical or physical skills an opportunity to shine and develop.We seem to have shortages in skilled manual workers.Given the present fees given to the trades,the artistry and inventiveness of toolmakers,and the flexibility of a trade work in the national workforce one would think this problem would be rectified.
However, secondary schools and community colleges are both funded locally for the local workforce and employers.Instead of apprenticeship procedures we fragment the training of masters.
We have also diminished the respect for manual labor amongst foolish educators who need a job,foolish lawyers who need clients,foolish accountants who need to deceive,and foolish doctors who need to repair those engaged in physical labor.
Here again this lack of recognition injures the quality of our workforce,the respect for ingenius solutions found in our former agricultural workforce. Immigrants also feared being placed in and kept in a so-called lower position.
Only the military and sales opened the doors to advancement and rank.Educators still maintain the more education the higher the reputation.This is a disconnection which should not be continued.