By Carol Lloyd
Even the renewed focus on getting parents more involved in their children’s education doesn’t jibe with the Finnish education system. When asked if Finnish parents are more involved than American parents in their children’s schooling, Sahlberg seemed confused. “No, I think there is a far lower rate of parental involvement. We believe most learning should happen in school,” he said. “I think that parents feel the schools are so well prepared that it’s not a real priority. In general, parents do other things with their children — after-school activities, trips, community events."
Does this mean we’re headed down the wrong track? Not necessarily. Some things like parental involvement and longer school days may be necessary to help U.S. schools catch up. But other principles, like more testing, ranking, and math drilling, may end up creating their own set of problems. In his mild way, Sahlberg espoused a concept underlying Finnish education — but one that almost sounds revolutionary in the midst of our scorched-earth ed reform.
“We believe it is important that learning should be enjoyable. And all kids should be happy to go to school.”
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