Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finland Strikes Again!

“Children from wealthy families with lots of education can be taught by stupid teachers,” --  who should get performance bonuses.

Back when I was still Principal, I read a mega study which studied over 200 other studies. They concluded that retention was a miserable failure for everyone involved. Children almost invariably got worse after retention and generally dropped out of school earlier than those were not retained. No, the study was careful. It compared children who were recommended for retention who were retained versus those who were recommended for retention and we're not retained. The dropout rate skyrocketed among those were retained.

I said then, and I repeat now, the choice is between social promotion or antisocial retention. This is not an ideological or political position. It is a fact based position based on extensive studies of actual human children.

 The mega study indicated that there was a way to not retain, but ensure that the child would have a successful next year. What was that method?  The child, having been socially promoted, would be given a special program uniquely designed to meet his or her needs. This required the equivalent of a child study team meeting in which educational and psychological experts designed a specific program for that specific child. Yes, it was very labor-intensive. But it worked. Do we want children to be educated or not? That is the question.

In other words, this Finnish teacher did exactly what was recommended by that mega study, which was completed back in the mid-1980s. The facts are out there. Why won't people pay attention to them?

This is only one aspect of Finland's schools which is superior.

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