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What is Finland doing that makes it a world leader in educational equity and excellence?

Sponsoredby the Education Funder Strategy Group and the Stuart Foundation, I am part of a group of educators and policymakers visiting Finland to observe their public school system, which is one of the top-performing systems in the world. I will be in Finland from August 19-25. Here is an overview taken from the introduction to our agenda of the work I'll be doing while I'm in Helsinki.

What is Finland doing that makes it a world leader in educational equity and excellence? We will explore that question across the continuum of early learning, comprehensive schooling (grades 1 to 9) and secondary education. We will focus on system drivers for achieving high student outcomes, focusing on how teachers in Finland are trained, how they teach and assess learning, and how Finland’s investment in early childhood education and intervention is closing achievement and opportunity gaps. We will also examine how Finland’s tertiary education system serves both students and the country’s economic aspirations. Throughout the week, expect a full schedule of school and campus visits and meetings width education officials, principals, teachers, and students as well as top leaders in the Ministry of Education, Parliament, the National Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce, business, and education trade unions, among others. The background materials will provide detailed information about the Finnish education system. Throughout the week, we hope to engage width our hosts on some key questions of relevance to both of our countries, including: What is the theory of learning that guides the design of Finland’s education system? Or, is the system animated by multiple theories at the municipal and school levels? Does the science of learning and research on child/youth development inform classroom practice in Finland? How does the Finland approach to pedagogy and instruction compare and/or contrast width the U.S.? How is the school system dealing width increasing inequality, income disparities, and immigration in the context of Finland’s core commitment to equal opportunity for all students? What is next for Finland? How do policymakers and educators envision the future of learning and process of educational innovation in a rapidly changing world?

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