Pedagogical experts are heading to my ancestral homeland to find out how they do it with big class sizes, no money, no Head Start, and no condom distribution.

From the Finlandia Foundation, all emphasis mine:

Imagine an educational system where children do not start school until they are 7, where spending is a paltry $5,000 a year per student, where there are no gifted programs and class sizes often approach 30. A prescription for failure, no doubt, in the eyes of many experts, but in this case a description of Finnish schools, which were recently ranked the world’s best. Finland topped a respected international survey last year, coming in first in literacy and placing in the top five in math and science.

Ever since, educators from all over the world have thronged to this self-restrained country to deconstruct its school system – “educational pilgrims,” the locals call them – and, with luck, take home a sliver of wisdom.

“We are a little bit embarrassed about our success,” said Simo Juva, a special government adviser to the Ministry of Education, summing up the typical reaction in Finland, where boasting over accomplishments does not come easily. Perhaps next year, he said, wishfully, Finland will place second or third.

Read more here.

Maybe its the humility.