Came across an interesting article in PDF format the other night. Although it is no secret there are school systems throughout the world who are doing the right things and making quality strides at improving their educational systems, I think the model in which the country of Finland provides is intriguing and provides substantive evidence its model is effective. http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/summer2011/Sahlberg.pdf
I think most educators across the board agree that by raising the level of respect for the teaching profession here in the US is a top priority. The answer invariably comes back to raising teacher's salary's significantly to compare to that of other white collar workers and professions in business. While I do think this would ultimately go along way to moving in that direction, it is unreasonable and not practical to think that US politicians and legislators will anytime soon reverse their current ideology and positions regarding the profession as demonstrated by their actions and lack of support in raising teacher's salaries to compare with their peers in similar industries. In fact, many states have shown their continued propensity to continue to place education at the bottom of the list in funding and expenditure. Even those states who are putting the vast majority of their budget toward education, data and statistics compiled still are not showing the achievement and success as rivaled by some of the other leading countries around the world. Why? To this end, I proclaim no knowledge of having the right answer(s).
I do know that in the US, school districts continue to employ programs and policies that are supposedly termed as being best practices and current educational philosophy in the hopes that these are the right answers to move us in the right direction, or is it? The model in which is currently being used in Finland, to me, shows promise. Raising the standards for those who are entering the profession seem justifiable and a common sense approach in which I do not know whether it is realistic here in the US in regards to preparing and hiring only the best and brightest into the profession. The standards in which they currently require would perhaps eliminate thousands of would be educators wanting to teach in the US. Shortages across the nation are abundant already due to the lack of respect and pay that is being offered to those wanting to enter the profession.
I do believe there is tremendous potential in allowing more local control of educating students at the Grassroots level, and allowing the teachers and administrators at this level to determine what should be learned and how it should be learned. By raising the standards locally or by the individual states seems logical as a front end and rapid approach to raising the quality of the educational infrastructure of "a school" or school system. The statistics are impressive as to what is taking place in Finland over the last quarter century, and does provide food for thought for those who are invested fully into education and the futures of our young people and society as a whole.
Am I just the quintessential dreamer, or does some of this make blatantly simple and sound reasoning? I look forward to opinons and thoughts as to these two reads. Yours in the fight, and GODSPEED!