I have been researching two phenomena which I believe deserve much more attention by the American public –strides made by Geoffrey Canada’s Promise Neighborhoods enterprises and the overall achievements of the Finnish educational system. While reading more in depth about the miracles Canada’s work has brought about to close the achievement gap induced by intergenerational poverty in some of America’s poorest neighborhoods, I can’t help but be impressed and awed by the results and the promise these comprehensive socio-economic programs show – from the cradle to college.
The Harlem Children’s Zone Project Pipeline
Imagine…what could happen if one of the biggest obstacles to instituting real change in our educational system was removed, namely, the No Child Left Behind Act? School districts, charter school systems and the Teachers Union would be given a foundation to begin reengineering our system & reinvent themselves to focus on what’s important and already proven tried and true in Finland and in other systems across the globe. And if the No Child Left Behind Act is not repealed for public schools nationally, then remove it for dynamic systems as embodied by Canada’s HCZs and various Promise Neighborhoods that could function as real and long-term testing grounds. I believe that children nurtured in what the Finnish call an EduCare environment with similar early childhood & comprehensive school curricula such as theirs would not only continue to close achievement gaps nationally but that they would begin to soar by international standards.
Here is the basis for my conviction:
A 2010 report by the OECD on Lessons Learned from PISA for the United States:
Finland: Slow and Steady Reform for Consistently High Results
A 2000 report by the OECD that shows and maps out the origins of Finland’s success:
Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Finland