I have pointed out on this blog from time-to-time that the U.S. is rapidly falling behind the rest of the world in new technology and new product innovation. Every year it seems that we fall one or two places further behind while other nations are rapidly rising. Why is that?
I have also taken the position that the main reason the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world is because we are not educating our young people.
Why are the school kids in the U.S. only 17th in the world in science proficiency? Or worse yet… why are we only 25th in the world in math proficiency?
Why should this even matter? Well, I believe that, as a result of a dearth of young scientists and engineers, we are no longer technology leaders in the world, and that is impacting our economy, our society, and our standard of living.
So, what can we, as a nation, or especially as a private citizen, do about it?
Here is what one nation has done. Finland decided to change from an agriculture based country to a technology based country, and they started by educating their young people.
That is the reason Finland is now 1st in the world in science, and 1st in the world in math.
For a closer look at this effort by the Finnish people, take a look at a Brian Williams spot on NBC Nightly News that played a while back. It is a real eye opener.
(email subscribers need to view on my blog)
Points to consider about Finland’s education system:
- Teachers are considered Professionals—the same as doctors and lawyers. Finnish teachers come from the top 10% of their class, while 47% of America’s teachers come from the bottom third.
- Teachers in Finnish schools must prove they have a strong commitment to the teaching profession. They also must have a Masters Degree.
- Education is of National importance.
- Parents are heavily involved in seeing that their children get an education.
- The national dropout rate in Finland is 2%. In the U.S. it is 25%.
- The Finnish culture “values” education. The average student speaks 4 languages, including English.
Here’s a couple of things I found to be of special interest from watching this video clip:
1) I watched it several times, but I did not see a single cell phone, or text-messaging student, even though Finland’s mobile phone service is many times better than the U.S.
2) All of this attention on education should be very expensive… right? Well, the cost of education in Finland is $3,000 dollars per child per year less than in the U.S.
So, what is the answer for America? Should we make education a national priority? Should we turn the schools back to the teachers?
Do we have too many “administrators?”
Do we have the right structure in place for overseeing our schools?
I have many more questions, but one person’s opinion is not going to make any difference… the important thing is: What does America think about education?
What do you think about education in the U.S.? Many of us would like to know.