BBC News, April 2010
Year after year, Finland tops international lists for education. And its success flies in the face of what reformers call for in this country: no standardized tests, less time spent in the classroom, all students mainstreamed in the same class, little homework.
So it's little wonder that groups of Americans travel to Finland to observe and see what practices we can bring to our embattled schools.
Well, that's the theory, at least. Apparently the truth is more indicative of the failings of American education than perhaps these 'deformers' would prefer to acknowledge. No matter how many groups go to Finland, no matter how many times they tour the facilities, no matter how many white papers, recommendations, reports and prospectuses are written, one fact is evident to the Finns: WE AREN'T LEARNING. And Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is done speaking to the proverbial brick wall:
"We are a kind and generous people and we are certainly flattered by your interest in our educational system. However, we have answered all your questions and shared all of our wisdom. It is up to the United States to actually do something with the knowledge it has gained. I believe Americans might say it is time to, 'Put up or shut up.' After all how many times can we tell you that we trust and respect teachers and don't administer standardized tests until students are almost ready for college?"