Quality teachers is the key

Many people hold up Finland as the idea schooling system. They don’t have standardised testing, charter schools and a whole bunch of other things that allows the vested interests of the NZEI and PPTA to hold up as an example of a proper functioning education system. The one part the unions won’t tell you about though is the drive for excellence amongst teachers:

Finland?s highly developed teacher preparation program is the centerpiece of its school reform strategy. Only eight universities are permitted to prepare teachers, and admission to these elite teacher education programs is highly competitive: only one of every ten applicants is accepted. There are no alternative ways to earn a teaching license. Those who are accepted have already taken required high school courses in physics, chemistry, philosophy, music, and at least two foreign languages. Future teachers have a strong academic education for three years, then enter a two-year master?s degree program. Subject-matter teachers earn their master?s degree from the university?s academic departments, not?in contrast to the?US?the department of teacher education, or in special schools for teacher education. Every candidate prepares to teach all kinds of students, including students with disabilities and other special needs. Every teacher must complete an undergraduate degree and a master?s degree in education.

Because entry into teaching is difficult and the training is rigorous, teaching is a respected and prestigious profession in Finland. So selective and demanding is the process that virtually every teacher is well prepared.

Imagine of our teacher training were so?rigorous. A great many of the?problems?in our schools would?dissipate?almost instantly. Here, instead, teachers demand respect they do not deserve nor that they have earned.