How America Should Reform Its High School System
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Student Life

How America Should Reform Its High School System

Surprise guest from a small yet intelligent country.

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How America Should Reform Its High School System
Photo by Shane on Unsplash

People tend to assume the United States is best at everything. You know what they say here, "bigger is better," and in America, everything seems to be bigger. The movies, the malls, the food (who remembers McDonald's famous yet terrifying Supersize Me?), the houses, Texas is a monster for crying out loud, and even the people (approaching a 40% obesity rate). Bigger, however, is not directly correlated with better--at least not always.

The United States is the third largest country out of the 195 nations on earth. That means as a group, we have bested a large percentage of the world's population solely based on numbers. As one of the biggest countries, should we not assume that we have the best education system as well. Unfortunately, for the students reading this (and our country's fragile ego), the education system popularized here for centuries is considered a failure in comparison to that of a country 29 times smaller than the USA: Finland.

While America proudly boasts many achievements advancing the human experience (like the highest number of McDonald's restaurants,) Finland claims one impressive feat that the US cannot--that is, the top education system around the globe. This small yet progressive country routinely exceeds the reading, math, and science levels of those in the US, and does this even with a shorter school day.

There are countless components that the Finnish National Agency for Education has rooted into their schooling system that make it so prosperous that I believe should be implemented in the United States. Here are four:

"Learn Through Play"

person piling blocks Photo by La-Rel Easter on Unsplash

This unique model was created to encourage a balance between work and life, planting a sense of moderation into the child's minds. This also gives children more opportunities to bond more with their family, friends, and teachers.

Trained Teachers

red apple fruit on four pyle books Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Unlike in America, teaching is an extremely respected profession in Finland. To teach, you must earn a master's degree, as well as participate in self-evaluation exercises. This admiration and accountability held by teachers ensures the professors are continuing to learn themselves in order to teach students the latest and greatest information.

Counseling Component

woman and man holding hands Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The curriculum in Finland has counseling and guidance deeply rooted, cultivating an open and growth-mindset oriented space for students. With mental health issues on the rapid rise, this component is more significant than ever and should be established globally.

Vocational and General Options

man holding book on road during daytime Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

After Finland's primary education, students elect to purse a vocational or general path of course work. The vocational path enables students to participate in career focussed activities including apprenticeships and internships, while the general path allows students to draft their own schedules while focussing on coursework. This permission for students to opt for an individual path inspires them to take initiative and turn their futures into a genuine interest.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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