Salem--like everywhere in the US--desperately needs to rethink our educational approach. Instead, we apply the same approach to our collapsing educational institutions that we do to dealing with sprawl, thinking that, if we just do it more, this time we'll get a different result.
Visitors to Finland in search of its educational secrets discover relaxed, cooperative classrooms, strong early emphasis on math, science and languages — physics and chemistry in middle school, and proficiency in Finnish, English and Swedish by the seventh grade — and high-quality, creative teaching.
Americans notice particularly the absence of some favorite [US] strategies: early childhood education (Finnish kids start school at age 7), restrictive rules (no tardy bells, no school uniforms), continuous standardized testing (high school students don't even experience standardized tests until they take exit exams at age 18.)
Nice timing for this column to get us thinking about education: Coming up at Salem Cinema, starting Friday, April 10.