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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “No excuses” is a phrase used to spur kids’ achievement in the U.S. However in Finland, “whatever it takes” is an attitude driving most of its 62,000 educators in 3,500 schools, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine.

Teachers come from the top 10% of the nation’s graduates, and earn required master’s degrees. If one method of teaching fails they consult colleagues to try something else in Finland’s small 1st- through 9th grade schools, where 30% of the kids from diverse backgrounds like Iraq, Somalia, Russia and Bangladesh, get special help.

In 2009 on the PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment, a standardized test, Finnish 15 year-olds were the 3rd best readers in the world, second of 57 countries (and some cities) in science and 6th in math among nearly half a million students worldwide.

Transformation of the schools began 40 years ago as the key to economic recovery. Our policy makers should take note.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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