Tag Archives: youth

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

By  Anu Partanen | An opinion piece for The Atlantic

The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West’s reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known — if it was known for anything at all — as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life — Newsweek ranked it number one last year — and Finland’s national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world. Continue reading

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Youngstown friends took different path

by Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator

Shortly after publishing my March column on the six young men involved in shooting into a house full of people in February, killing one, I received an email from Lamar Sykes, formerly of Youngstown.

Sykes has a financial-analyst position with the defense finance and accounting service, a Department of Defense agency in Cleveland.

He read the column and suggested I write about him and five of his friends who grew up on the mean streets of Youngstown. He thought their lives would be a positive contrast to the men charged in the shooting.

They chose to pursue lives devoted to education, hard work and trying to make themselves better.

The six — Sykes, Michael Gibson, Wilson Okello, Clarence Howell, Carrington Moore and Thomas Toney — grew up on the South Side. Howell has stayed in town; the other five have moved away for job reasons or to seek additional education.

They are all 24, single and have no children.

They attribute their success in no small part to their parents’ guidance, their longtime friendship and their faith in God.

Youngstown was a great proving ground for them. They have fond memories of the city, but they also saw many of their friends succumb to the city’s negative image and make bad choices.

They remain close and, says Sykes, their long-range goal is “formulating ideas in which we can collaborate on how to help the area’s youth overcome some of the obstacles they may face. Our intentions are to establish a nonprofit organization in the area.”

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5 takeways from ‘The FAB FIVE’ documentary

Five college freshmen ignited a basketball revolution. If you’re a sports fan I’m sure you’ve heard or seen some sort of sound bite or conversation around the new “FAB FIVE” documentary. The two-hour film aired on March 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and depicts the story of Jalen Rose and his other Fab Five teammates, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Called by some “the greatest class ever recruited,” the five freshmen not only electrified the game, but also brought new style with their baggy shorts, black socks and ‘trash’ talk.

“The Fab Five” relives the recruitment process that got all five of them to Ann Arbor, the cultural impact they made, the two runs to NCAA title game, the Webber “timeout” in the 1993 championship and the scandal that eventually tarnished their accomplishments. Among other things. Finally catching the film, weekend before last, I found myself watching it 3 times in one day. I found it that powerful and thought-provoking. Below are 5 things I took away from the FAB FIVE documentary.

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