When It Comes To Education, Is Equality All That Matters?

If you look at Finland, the answer seems to be yes.  Finland has some of the highest test scores in the world.  There is no one more surprised at this than Finland.  They aren’t worried about tests or grades or measurements or performance.  Their education is based around one principle: equality.

Starting from the top, there is no such thing as a private school.  No one pays tuition.  Your billionaire’s son gets the same education as your pauper’s daughter.  Students are fed and both their physical and mental health is taken care of.  Early education is based more around creative play than tests, lessons, and homework.  Teachers are required to have a masters degree.  They are well paid and well respected.  Principals are expected to root out problems with teachers and fix them.  This combination apparently allows students of all backgrounds to thrive.

Education is the great equalizer.  We owe it to our children to have an equal education regardless of background.  This, unfortunately, is anathema to the American experience so it will likely never happen.

5 thoughts on “When It Comes To Education, Is Equality All That Matters?

  1. JimMc

    It’s pretty hard to draw conclusions about Finland’s success and think the same will work here. Demographics matter. When you say “students of all backgrounds”, there’s a big difference between what you see in Finland vs. the US. I’d love it to be the case but I’ve yet to see Finland style success stories here.

  2. Jean-Paul Post author

    From the article:

    “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.”

    Can you give me an example of where anything close to this has ever been attempted in the U.S.? Step number one is banning private schools.

  3. dianeb

    Finland has 5.4 million residents, 4.8 million are Finnish. Also, the US poverty rate compared to Finland is astronomic. “A UNICEF study of 35 developed countries found the United States had the second-highest rate of child poverty after Romania. … Iceland had the lowest child poverty rate, 4.7 percent, followed by Finland at 5.3 percent…” You can’t compare Finland to the US. The amount of diversity and poverty in our urban schools is at the core of the problems in our education system. If everyone was well off and was of similar culture, then we’d all be well educated just like the utopia of Glenview. 🙂

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/05/29/US-Second-highest-child-poverty-level/UPI-67641338349787/#ixzz2NXotL100

    1. Jean-Paul Post author

      That means that Finland has an 11% immigrant population. Guess what the U.S. immigrant population is, 12.5%. As I mentioned in the comments, Finland has immigrant centers just like the U.S. does and their scores are just as good.

      Also, part of the reason why Finland’s child poverty rates are so low is because of its school system. It provides an entire web of social services to the children.

  4. Jaime

    Now you can’t spend your way out of the current malaise that infects our education system, but the cost of one F35, currently pegged at around $350 million each could fully fund a small towns Education system like where I live, Valparaiso, IN. As you stated earlier, JP. Teachers are well paid and respected. I’m going to assume that they are held to high expectations as well.

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