There were no regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences.
A teacher would just meet with a student to resolve problems rather than bringing in the parents.
Nearly 1 in 6 Polish children live in poverty (that’s high, though not as high as the 1 in 4 Oklahoma children who live in poverty).
Beginning in 1998, the nation’s leaders launched an ambitious new plan to improve education.
They also faced a much higher bar to become teachers.
Teacher colleges in Finland are highly selective, and teachers must complete a lengthy research project and a year-long residency as a student-teacher before fully entering the profession.
Getting an accurate picture of a nation’s education system from the outside is no easy task.
It made sense to reward, train, and dismiss more teachers based on their performance, but that approach assumed that the worst teachers would be replaced with much better ones, and that the mediocre teachers would improve enough to give students the kind of education they deserved.
However, there was not much evidence that either scenario was happening in reality.
Teachers in Finland were also given more independence and respect.
They were paid better, had strong union protections, and they didn’t face the strict curriculum standards or test-based accountability that have swept through American schools in recent years.