Changes Needed for Excellence and Equity
When international education
expert Sir Ken Robinson met with almost 900 Stark area educators and community leaders in August, he reinforced the beliefs of many in the room. Ohio's system of standardized instruction and over-reliance on state testing has not resulted in the excellence and equity for Ohio students that was intended.
Sir Ken Robinson pointed to the changes made in the education system in number one ranked Finland as an example for Ohio to consider as our state strives for high achievement for all students. Ironically, just at the time the U.S. began massive testing through No Child Left Behind, the Finns were building the world's top education system based in part on lessons they had learned here. What are they doing differently?
Part of that answer lies in a book, Finnish Lessons 2.0,
by Pasi Sahlberg - a Finnish educator, author and scholar who has served as a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. While Sahlberg does not propose that other nations necessarily follow the same path, he does document how "Finland achieved success without going through the arduous and controversial process of implementing competition, school choice, and test-based accountability....The Finns have gradually built trust in schools and strengthened professional responsibility among teachers and leaders so that the education system works as a self-improving organization."
If we want students to maximize their talents, our school design will need to provide opportunities for students to explore their potential and experience what it means to be an active compassionate citizen. The great news for Stark County is that all of our schools have begun these types of transformational changes.
Over the next few months, Looking at the Issues will feature some of Stark's innovative programs including STEM programs, One-to One computing, problem-based learning, maker-spaces, blended learning, soft skill badging, video journalism and more.
Many of the participants at the Sir Ken Robinson event have already shared ideas for Stark to consider. Why not tell us your thoughts as well? We look forward to hearing from you.