By elevating the status of teachers to “professionals” and minimizing testing in favor of personal attention, the Finns have a proven track record. As LynNell Hancock reported in this 2011 Smithsonian piece:
Educators had little idea it was so successful until 2000, when the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues, revealed Finnish youth to be the best young readers in the world. Three years later, they led in math. By 2006, Finland was first out of 57 countries (and a few cities) in science. In the 2009 PISA?scores released last year, the nation came in second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide.
Now it looks like the Finns are on to another interesting idea, this time in the criminal justice arena: assessing fines for certain offenses based upon ability to pay.
As explained in this Atlantic piece by Joe Pinsker:
Finland’s system for calculating fines is relatively simple: It starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two—the resulting number is considered a reasonable amount of spending money to deprive the offender of. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. Going about 15 mph over the speed limit gets you a multiplier of 12 days, and going 25 mph over carries a 22-day multiplier.
Such a system is certainly worthy of consideration in this country, where the illogic of heaping hefty fines and penalties upon those least able to pay, and then jailing those who don’t pay, has been well-documented.