Report date
May 2019
Learning Log

What stands out and surprised me about my leadership development journey throughout my Fellowship to date is my ability to be resilient and hopeful, despite continually observing educational disparities among student groups in the United States, because of their family income, or children with disability, English Language learners, Native American children, and or student of color. All these categories of students have lower educational outcome compared to their counterparts that fall outside these categories. Public Education in the United States, compared to other industrial countries, who happen to have less economic and military power, yet out perform the United States in Education Outcomes.
Over the last year, I have visited, Canada, United Kingdom, Finland, and Spain. I have met with education leaders at all levels, parents and children, and discussed and inquired about their education systems, and what they do differently than the United States: Most often what i Learned is that these countries do not spent more money in education than the United States, however, they have different mindsets about priorities of spending money in education and education policies.
Starting with our Neighbor to the North Canada: The most outstanding feature of the Canadian public education, compared to the United States is that they have completely public funded education across the country. In Canada, there is no local education funding through referendums, all the education funding comes from the Federal Government. Communities throughout Canada receive equitable funding, whether they live in inner city neighborhood, suburban affluent neighborhood, Native American reservation. This Federal Policy of equal funding to all communities, full accountability of local school boards, or trustees as they are called in Canada, to the Federal Government, among other things, gives Canada one of the best educational outcomes in the globe.
Finland is the country that stands out among the global community in education outcomes: Finland stands in extreme contrast to the United States almost in every aspect. In Finland teachers are the highest paid professionals in the country, where the teachers in the United States are some of the lowest paid professionals. Teachers in Finland have complete autonomy in educational decisions for their students, where American teachers must follow strict Federal, State statutes, in addition to local policies. Finland education system has zero standardized testing, compared to US Model that requires standardized testing almost at every level. Finland is not a rich country in terms of resources and economic performance, has a similar size and population as Minnesota, where as the United States is the biggest economic power in the globe. Finland has similar education outcomes among student groups, where as United States, your educational opportunity and outcome is predetermined, by your race, income, disability, zip code, immigrant status, and so on.
In the United States and in Minnesota, I regularly observe educational biases, implicit/explicit, and mindless policies that defy common sense in our public education systems, yet I am hopeful and resilient in my leadership, and constantly working for better outcomes for all children, regardless of their details.