At the NJEA convention this past Thursday, Pasi Sahlberg, an education policy advisor from Finland, delivered a keynote address that left the room full of New Jersey teachers both envious and hopeful. Finland has garnered international attention for its public education system for consistently scoring the highest on the international PISA tests – but high test scores are not the cause of envy. Instead, he spoke of the respect for children and educators that lies at the heart of their public school system, the focus on cooperation and the rejection of education as competition, and the true meaning of equity. He left the attendees feeling hopeful because he demonstrated what a society can do when it is determined to educate all children to the best of their abilities in the hopes that they will create good lives. For two good explanations of his speech, see the links below.
From teacherbiz: http://teacherbiz.wordpress.com/
From The Press of Atlantic City: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/new-jersey-teachers-learn-secrets-of-finland-s-academic-success/article_d3c4715c-6611-11e4-a38a-fbcb6a002cb5.html