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Education

Improving U.S. Schools

October 3, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 40

Having read C&EN’s “Back to School” issue (Sept. 12), I’d like to point out Smithsonian magazine’s articles about education in Finland (September 2011, page 94). There, students do not start school until age seven and take few standardized tests. When ranking test scores from tests given to students from several different countries in 2009, students from Finland ranked No. 2 in science, No. 3 in reading, and No. 6 in math. U.S. students ranked No. 15 in reading, No. 23 in science, and No. 31 in math.

U.S. educators should investigate how Finland accomplishes this to help improve education in the States.

All students should learn about the chemistry of their food and understand the contents label on products they buy and use. Remember the normal curve—not all students have the ability to become research chemists, but they can all use some chemistry. Schools need more than one chemistry class in the K–12 years.

By James F. Jackson
Carlisle, Ind

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