Finland

“Smoothly functioning and comprehensive health insurance, a full year of partially paid disability leave, nearly a full year of paid parental leave for each child and a smaller monthly benefit for an additional two years (should I or the father of my child choose to stay at home longer with our child), affordable high-quality day care, one of the world’s best K-12 education systems, free college and free graduate school.” Anu Partanen

To get an idea how poorly U.S, government is functioning go to your library and read ‘the Nordic Theory of Everything, In Search of a Better Life:’ by Anu Partanen, a recently naturalized citizen from Finland. She writes:

“All the advantages I gave up when I left Finland and moved to America – universal public health care, universal affordable day care, real maternity benefits, high quality free education, taxpayer funded residences for the elderly, even the separate taxation of spouses – were no gifts from the government to make me a servile dependent on the state’s largess. Rather the Nordic system is intentionally designed to take into account the specific challenges of modern life and give citizens as much logistical and financial independence as possible. This is actually the opposite of a community-centered system, or socialism, or whatever you want to call it.”

According to a UN report from 2014 surveying 185 countries and territories, only two did not guarantee any paid maternity leave; Papua New Guinea and the United States. The United States is also one of only a handful of countries that don”t guarantee their workers any paid time off for illness – others include Angola, India and Liberia.

Finnish students have ranked at or near the top ... on every survey since 2000, ...In 2012 the United States came in twenty-first in combined performance in reading, mathematics, and science among the thirty-four OECD countries, and in mathematics it performed below average at twenty-seventh. There are no private schools in Finland.

Finland has achieved its spectacular success with an approach that is, in just about every way, the diametric opposite of the approaches to education reform that are trending in America today. It will hardly come as a surprise that such very different approaches have very different consequences.

Finland’s child poverty rate at less than 5 percent, the lowest of all rich countries. By contrast the child poverty rate in the United States comes close to a shocking 25 percent – nearly a quarter of the entire population of children. Out of all the countries that UNICEF surveyed, the United States was actually next to last. Only Romania fared worse.

“My tax form had been one page long, and came prefilled with my earnings and taxes paid, including the calculations for amounts owed or refunded. My job was simply to check that everything was correct and amend it if needed. During my years as a salaried employee, I mostly just looked it over and did nothing.”

U.S. Congress failed to agree on funding for government operations back in 2013, and chose instead to shut down the entire federal government for more that two weeks, furloughing some eight hundred thousand workers. Soon after this debacle, I saw a survey indicating that Americans had a higher opinion of root canals, head lice, colonoscopies, and cockroaches than of Congress, and frankly, I’d begun to understand why.

Finland is the best in the world.

Finland is number 1 in education.

International Rankings of Finland

Bibliography

The Nordic Theory of Everything, In Search or a Better Life: Anu Partanen

Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland ? By Pasi Sahlberg

Home Editorial News Books Blogs Links Feedback