Since I love paradoxes so much, I love the idea that, as the UK and US trend ever more egalitarian in their approaches to education, they see ever greater gaps between low and high and achievers. Meanwhile, Finland has a two tier system that results in one of the smallest achievement gaps in the world.
Of course, I’d love it more if the education system here were as successful as Finland’s.
This article mentions just a few of the things about the US education system that Finland manages to do without:
While there is little grading and in essence no tracking in Finland, ninth grade does become a divider for Finnish students. Students are separated for the last three years of high school based on grades. Under the current structure, 53% will go to academic high school and the rest enter vocational school.
Using that format, Finland has an overall high-school dropout rate of about 4%. Even at the vocational schools the rate of 10% pummels America’s 25% high school drop out rate.
There is no silly “college for all” mantra and there certainly isn’t a push to have all students sit through a trigonometry class if that is not relevant to the student. More importantly, there is also no negative connotation to the concept of vocational school.