This is the first hint of how Finland does it: rather than “trying to reverse engineer a high-performance teaching culture through dazzlingly complex performance evaluations and value-added data analysis,” as Americans do, they ensure high-quality teaching from the beginning, allowing only top students to enroll in teacher-training programs, which are themselves far more demanding than such programs in America. A virtuous cycle is thus initiated: better-prepared, better-trained teachers can be given more autonomy, leading to more satisfied teachers who are also more likely to stay on.
One thing is very clear (even from my own schooling experience). Great teachers make a big difference. In fact most of the subjects I developed liking for in school were because of great teacher.
Reading this review, however makes me wonder about the correlation between education and innovation. If American schools are so bad, how come there is so much innovation in America? From this latest Global Innovation Index 2013, US ranks 5, Finland 6, South Korea 18 and Poland, a distant 49.
You may want to glance at How Your School Compares Internationally an OECD report.
There is a lot to think about and connect the dots. We also need to gather a lot more data on school performance, innovation at a young age, percentage of high performing students in research. Some correlations with entrepreneurship would help too.
Changed the name of the post and the link as well.