Crossing the Finnish Line

finland.jpg
Earlier this month the YRDSB disclosed reports about “jurisdictional learning” that it approved for staff to travel to Finland.

5 years ago I wrote a post about a Freedom of Information request revealed $130,000 in expenses that resulted in a moratorium on travel.

It appears that moratorium was short-lived as we now learn it was necessary to send a board trustee to Finland not once, but 3 times

3 times?

In a report about her 2011 trip Colleen Ireland concludes by writing :”

Whether any or all of these strategies or system practices can be duplicated in Ontario is almost an unanswerable question, given the marked differences in school population numbers and community/municipal supports.

Which then begs the question why #6 on the list of recommendations in the report from a May 2013 trip reads: Send team of DECEs, kindergarten teachers and SERTs to Finland as part of a study experience.

Why?

The flimsy justification for the most recent trip in September of last year comes across like this scene from Spongebob

One director is quoted in the Banner piece:

Seeing the benefits to students of a focus on well-being was educational and helpful. Afterwards, we put a detailed presentation online — and I gave a full debrief to a committee of staff members and trustees, as well. The main objective in benchmarking ourselves with other jurisdictions is learning things that can help our students.

Where are the clear and detailed answers to the question as to which strategies or system practices can be duplicated in Ontario, particularly at the YRDSB?

Given a 10 year partnership with Finland how are the benefits to students unknown to these staff members prior to this visit?

As performing educational jurisdiction” does Finland reciprocate and send their staff on 7 day trips to see the benefits of the YRDSB?

If the YRDSB is truly interested in is objective of learning things that can help their students why are they not benchmarking themselves against other jurisdictions.

10 years and hundred of thousands of $ on Finland.

What about Siberia where a daily ritual has kindergarten students out in the snow in swimming atire when the outside temperature is as low as -30. Activities include rubbing themselves with snow and throwing snowballs at each other and the ice bucket challenge.

Siberia seems like a much better benchmark considering how ineffectual the YRDSB’s Physical Education is, particularly here in Aurora where kids simply would become unhealthy lethargic lumps if not for the necessary intervention of Almighty Activate Aurora.

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