Published Online: March 9, 2010
Published in Print: March 10, 2010, as Finland vs. United States: An Unequal Comparison


Finland vs. United States: An Unequal Comparison

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

Walt Gardner’s delightful blog post Are Quality and Quantity Possible in Teacher Recruitment?" (Feb. 26, 2010) points out that Finland, highest in international comparisons of student achievement, is a small, largely homogeneous nation that focuses much attention on education. Critics of American schools often point to Finnish achievement as a model, and ask that whatever the Finns do be replicated in the United States.

Mr. Gardner is right to note that Finnish homogeneity is not just linguistic and ethnic, but also socioeconomic. Finland’s economy tilts far more to the socialist than Americans would ever support, and the country does not have superrich or superpoor citizens in any major degree. Without the economic gaps that lead to such different experiences in learning outside of school, as we see here, there is little achievement gap in Finnish schools.

American politicians who criticize our education system of course blame teachers for achievement gaps. If they didn’t, they would have to deal with the huge and growing income inequities in this country.

James Hill
College of Education
California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, Calif.

Vol. 29, Issue 24, Page 30

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories