Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Educating Kids in Science, Math and Reading--and Making Sure They Get a Good Start from the Beginning

The New York Times analyzes why American school kids performed in such a mediocre fashion on the recnet OECD school  success rankings.  Three regions are singled out for comment: Shanghai where an effort is being made to equalize opportunitiy for kids, Canada where many provinces don't use property taxes to fund schools, but provincial revenues, and Finland, which seems to be doing just about everything right.

The take-home lesson is that giving schools equal fiunding and making sure that every kid has access to decent schools are important.  Income inequality is deadly.  Residential segregation doesn't help the overall performance of a nation's young. Investing in common  goals produce results.

One of the things that is not mentioned is the way that Finland looks out for its offspring from the very begininng.  For 75 years Finnish families  have been receiving a "baby box" which provides just about everything a small child needs in its earliest days--."bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

"With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box's four cardboard walls.

"Mothers have a choice between taking the box, or a cash grant, currently set at 140 euros, but 95% opt for the box as it's worth much more."

And, as the mother in this clip from the BBC notes, little kids are often dressed in the same clothes which helps even things out.  The items are of good quality too: she says that her mother saved her baby box, and the sheets are still good enough to use for a new baby today. 

1 comment:

dan said...

Great way to learn math. Good math article.