News Journal gives Rodel free Vision 2015 ad space

Finland shows road to education excellence by, Dr. Lynn Okagaki is the dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Delaware.

I recently traveled to Finland with a group of Delaware delegates to take a look at Finland’s education system, well known as among the best in the world. Our goal was simple — figure out what they’re doing that we’re not and see if we can adapt something that might work here in Delaware.

Let’s see, free lunch for all, no private or charter schools, free college, no sports and neighborhood schools for all students ! Wall Street won’t go for any of that! Looks like the only thing we can do is respect teachers like we do doctors.

Several factors set Finland apart, but one in particular drives much of the country’s success in education. Teachers in Finland are trusted — and expected — to do whatever it takes to turn a student’s life around. When a student struggles, teachers try a different approach.

Turn a student life around? Does that including putting them in specialized educational foster homes where parents will engaged in their education? 

At today’s Vision 2015 conference, Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy will talk about education in the First State and its K-12 Race to the Top efforts. Specifically, they will discuss what is needed next to take Delaware’s public schools from good to great, two of the most important of which are teacher quality and teacher preparation. 

Very tactful add placement Dr. Okagaki! Your little editorial is an ad campaign for Rodel’s Kool-aid fest.

In Finland, teacher preparation is the essential ingredient for ensuring high-quality teachers. All of their teachers have research-based undergraduate and master’s degrees. The actual training itself does not seem to differ much from what occurs at top research institutions in our country. But only a small fraction of our teachers have that level of rigorous training.

So you are saying the U of D pumps out ill prepared teachers and need to look beyond a high school GPA to ensure a students entering the U of D education programs have preferable social skills that can adapt to student diversity?

Perhaps the most impressive part of the Finnish teacher preparation program is the selectivity of the preservice teachers. Last year, for example, 120 out of 1,240 applicants were accepted to one university’s basic education teacher preparation program.

Do that at the U of D and Harker would have to take a pay cut in order to pay the university’s utilities.

The question is why are so many people interested in teaching? After all, the salaries are roughly equivalent to ours.

Perhaps DuPont cut back on hiring in Finland and not everyone wants to build ships or can fish. 

Two factors are key. First, their society holds teachers in high esteem, much like doctors. Second, as highly trained professionals, teachers have autonomy to solve problems

Unlike teachers in the United States! Teachers in United States have become puppets to business roudtable and Wall Street where control of the “their” classrooms have no autonomy. Call it the Judas effect! 

As director general at the Finnish Ministry of Education, Pasi Sahlberg notes in his book “Finnish Lessons” that teachers relish what they call “the big freedom” that comes with being treated as a professional.

Perhaps if we real free minorities in America we can transfer those skill to free public school teachers.

8 responses to “News Journal gives Rodel free Vision 2015 ad space

  1. I knew I could come here this morning for a refreshing shot or two of snarky truthiness.


  2. 🙂
    It’s the first thing I read. Then the NY Times. Then (reluctantly) the NewsJrnl. But nothing beats Kilroy for snarky truthiness.


  3. Finland’s children’s poverty rate is less than 5%. Good old US of A over 40%. among its public school children. Dr. Okagaki, next time save the University’s travel budget some money and ask UofD to lower in state graduate tuition (now equal to out of state) back to where it was relatively for our Delaware residents.


  4. That trip to Finland was National Public Education Support Fund. here:


  5. lastDEconservative

    The Vision 2015 (or 2012 as Lois’s headline writer puts it) forum yesterday dedicated a breakout session to the Finland excursion. It was the most breathless, fawning display I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few in my quest this past couple years. “I couldn’t believe it,” was probably the most common and shared refrain. Herdman was floating around the room like a pimpled teen about to crush his buds by arriving at the prom with the homecoming queen. It was quite a (sad) display.

    As I said in my comment on Kilroy’s previous Finland post, this is how most in the education establishment see the world in general, and apply it to their field by default … here’s a predominantly socialist country, with more government — find something, anything, that works (if only by appearance) and tout it to high heaven as proof that the problem with the &%$#@*&% US of A is its lack of government. Just one cited example — a Finn school lunch comes sans dessert … “No dessert! I didn’t see one anywhere!” The adult Moochelle Obama must be proud of this Nordic country, as her indoctrinees at this forum clearly were.

    One thing in common twixt Finland and what the Delaware system MIGHT become — taking the kids in at birth. The FINN government pays parents that stay home with the littlest ones if they choose (well, choose in collaboration with the state) not to avail themselves of the infant education system. The superintendent of Lake Forest (whose story I had heard in the ether and thought, no, hoped, was a fabrication) said he is now finally living his dream (literally, it came to him aslumber) of being at the bedside of local infants at birth and delivering a basket of goodies to “another one of my kids.” Now watch this … thanks to RttT, he has the money to fund his new formal program where NEWBORNS are “signed up” in his district, are assigned a “gardener,” who delivers gifts including a LF logo onesie. Did I mention he thanked RttT money? And that he deemed them “my kids?”

    That’s really bad, you say? No, really bad is that the State of Delaware put him on stage, with Vivian, shortly after Markell and the Coach. That’s really, really bad, you say? No, really, really bad is that the .m.a.j.o.r.i.t.y. of the audience applauded when he displayed a sample onesie. I guess we’ll have to wait a couple years, if the RttT money doesn’t run out, to see what kind of uniforms the gardeners issue, or chants they teach as the years go on.

    Kilroy, I don’t know if you were there in general yesterday, but I know one session where you weren’t, because nobody was carted off in a straightjacket. Maybe I’ll peck out another note later about the RCCSD session about PLCs, hosted by … drum roll … wait for it … Wireless Generation!! I just now came out of a self imposed 24 hour suicide watch — imposed just to be safe after sitting through my own mock PLC session with charts and graphs of student data and a data coach, wherein we blended together a sufficient number of classrooms plural full of numbered students as to render each child, er, number, indistinguishable from the next, thus setting the stage to design a new classroom strategy to be used in all the classrooms. Which makes soooooo much more sense than Miss Jackson dealing with Timmy and Susie, and Mr. Schwartz dealing with Billy and Mark, and Miss …

    God help our kids. Not “us.” Our kids. “Us” is letting this all happen.


    • Thank you for the stunning recap. RTTT onesies. All time abuse of federal tax dollars. A complete fucking disgrace. That’s what needs to make the papers. Wow, just wow.


  6. lastDEconservative

    You’re welcome. Also see:

    Near the bottom you will find:

    Other innovations within the plan:
    Spartan Sprouts, engaging families upon birth of children targeting those families not eligible for services from public health, Early Head Start and Parents as Teachers; ‘gardeners’ will work with families and children, including home visits and group activities

    Just to be clear, I think the logos were of the Spartans (?), their mascot. There probably was a RttT logo somewhere in the sponsorship area of the article, like the road race t-shirts the orthopaedic doctors sponsor. It was hard to see from within the cone of invisibility I was seated in.

    As to reporting, I guess ND followed the flame to the luncheon event, just as designed. All that was lacking from that distracting presentation was 10 minutes of film of puppies playing.