Reimagining Education

Economic Recovery Begins in the Classroom

By Peter Franzen, Director of Development

If you were in charge of developing an economic recovery plan for an entire country, how would you go about doing it?

Certainly jobs come to mind.  Perhaps you would propose enacting an FDR-era Work Projects Administration.  Give everyone a job and stimulate the economy that way.

Or maybe you would decide that lowering taxes on the middle class would put more money in people’s hands and the country could spend its way back to health.  After all, you need money to buy goods and services that are the basis of people’s jobs.

Those are just some ideas you might consider, but they are not the ideas that one country placed at the center of its economic recovery plan forty years ago.  No, that distinction goes to our friends in Finland.

An article on Smithsonian.com about Finnish schools gives a great overview of what they are doing and why they think it is working.  For me, though, the real genius is that the Finns identified a robust, effective education system for its children as the key to economic recovery.

The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri supports public policies that encourage access to quality educational opportunities for all Missouri students.  We firmly believe that for Missouri to compete in the global marketplace, we must have an educated citizenry.

I encourage you to read the article and make up your own mind about the many ways in which the Finns have found educational success.  For me, the most fascinating aspect is in the inception of their reform efforts.  Seems like a brave notion to suggest that the path to economic prosperity should start with the education of children.  We all say that a good education is the key to a successful life, but the Finns really put that idea into action.

Read the article here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html?c=y&story=fullstory

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