NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1006211
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Equality and Cooperation: Finland's Path to Excellence
Sarjala, Jukka
American Educator, v37 n1 p32-36 Spr 2013
For the past decade, Finland has been lauded for consistently being a top performer on international assessments of student achievement. Having spent 25 years in the Ministry of Education, and then another 8 as director general of the National Board of Education, the author was heartened by these accomplishment--but he is also concerned about how they are being interpreted by policymakers around the world. Much has been written about what Education officials did from the mid-1960s to the early 2000s; the mechanics of their transformation have been well documented. Much less has been written about their values. So, what are those core values? Equality and cooperation. Equality in opportunities and outcomes is what drives the first nine years of schooling. The national core curriculum for those nine years is challenging, but only about 4 percent of special education students attend separate schools. The rest have the capacity to be on grade level--as long as we provide expert teaching, intensive supports, and frequent remediation, as well as health and welfare services. This brings the author to cooperation. Cooperation is what makes equality possible. If Finland holds any lessons for the United States, the main one would be this: when everyone cooperates to achieve equality, inequality can be dramatically reduced and excellence can be attained. (Contains 7 endnotes.)
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland; United States