Ted Kolderie, a senior associate with Education Evolving, was one of 43 national education experts invited to examine Finland’s public education system and bring lessons back to the United States. Ted’s in Finland now; he left for his weeklong trip last Saturday, August 18.
Leading the delegation are Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University professor, and Joanne Weiss, chief of staff for the U.S. Secretary of Education. Ted and Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, are the only two members from the Midwest.
Since it was first given in 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam has shown Finnish students at the top of its rankings. Finland also has the most equitable student outcomes in the world, with small discrepancies between the low- and high-performing schools within its system.
The U.S. delegation is meeting with thought leaders, government officials, policymakers, educators, and members of the Finnish parliament to learn what makes Finland a world leader in education. They are also discussing the opportunities and challenges associated with preparing U.S. students, teachers and administrators for a Finnish-style arrangement of public education in which individuals are trusted, empowered, and given autonomy. The trip is made possible by the Education Funders Strategy Group.