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  • Scott Connelly

Why Finland outperforms the US in Education


I am fascinated that a small country such as Finland is outperforming many super powers that have more money and resources available by far. I was listening to the lecture in my Curriculum Leadership class, and some of the things said about what they do in Finland in education caught my attention so I had to do some research. The first thing that stood out was the investment they make into teachers. According to the salaryexplorer.com website the starting pay for teachers about the same I make after 5 years and a Masters degree. They also said most teachers' salary doubles by their 10th year. Eighty percent of their teachers have advanced degrees that are paid for by the government. The reason, I believe, for them achieving more than many countries is because they invest in the primary source of teaching kids. They want the teachers to do well and to learn more so they can be better at what they do. My years in the classroom were very different. I am employed in the second poorest county in the state, and the pay for our county is one of the lowest in the state. We are one of the poorest performing districts in the state. I have never been anywhere else to compare it to, but these are the things I noticed. Many of the teachers we have are either brand new, and looking to get their foot in the door, and eventually transfer somewhere else, teachers that probably should have retired years ago, and care very little about students or their academic progress, or finally we hire people that were turned down everywhere else. Our turnover is high from administration down to bus drivers, and very few profession development classes made be better. It was a box that we check off so we can recertified in 5 years. We spend a lot of money on programs, software, facility upgrades but the investment into teachers seems nominal from my point of view. Most of our teachers do not feel valued and struggle to be heard. According to my professor teachers in Finland get paid as well or more than doctors or lawyers, and not that pay is everything, but it is an incentive to perform. Maybe it is time to invest in people that work with our students daily, and not so much on the peripheral and let's see what happens. Just my thoughts.

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