Being a mother of three children I know the challenges of parenthood. Immigrating to California from Denmark with school-age children presented an extra challenge. My children had to adjust to a new language. While the oldest overcame the transition and successfully entered into the next grade, my middle child encountered more difficulties. After her one year in third grade, I decided to keep her back and have her go through third grade again. That was a personal decision, one that considered the human aspect of her learning.
Each child is different with different needs and ways to learn. Customized learning, so to speak. This reality is part of the Finish education success. In her book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, Darling-Hammond writes: “The Finnish curricula are very much focused on critical thinking and problem solving, project-based learning, and learning to learn. There is a lot of collaboration in the classroom.”
Quoting from a Stanford report by Stephen Tung:
“In the last decades, U.S. and Finnish education policies have appeared to be moving in opposite directions. While U.S. public schools moved to standardized testing, Finnish schools eschewed nationwide tests to evaluate teachers, students or schools, instead relying on sample-based testing and school principals to identify potential problems.”
“While U.S. public schools are locally funded, usually from property taxes, and rewarded based on high performance through programs such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grants, Finnish schools are nationally funded based on the number of students. Schools are provided additional funding if they have a higher proportion of immigrants or students whose parents are uneducated or unemployed.”
A link to this report here
While my children have gone through the American school system with standardized testing, they have also been parented by my educational philosophy that respects the differences each child presents. Some fit right in with the standardized testing, but many do not. My daughter did not learn that way and today she is a Montessori school teacher.
Here is another article on the subject from the Smithsonian Magazine: Why are Finland’s Schools Successful?