You are on page 1of 4

It seems that we focus so much on education in America and how our children learn.

We
focus on the costs of a public education not really valuing our children. I wanted to see how
Poland values education, the quality of education that children in Poland are offered, as well as
money spent per pupil as opposed to the education of American children.
In Poland there has been a major reform in the system due to the fall of communism.
The entire way that schools are run as well as what students learn, and how teachers are paid.
So far it seems that America stacks up in this area. At least to the tune of what students are
learning and how schools are run. What is very different then in America is that fact that
American students attend school until they are between 17 and 18. In Poland students are in
primary school until they are 13, and then they go to secondary school which prepares them for
a higher learning education or a vocational training. This time in school is focused and driven.
For example: In the late 1990s, a new lower secondary school program was introduced for
children between ages 13 and 15, followed by three upper secondary options offering academic,
technical and vocational tracks (Pearson).
A huge difference lays within the classroom. In Poland the teacher/student ratio is only
12.9/1 as opposed to American standards of 24 to one. How can we compete? Simple, we need
to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to lessen class sizes to ensure that our
children are getting a valuable education. The quality of education goes down with the more
students that you have within a classroom. Where is the individualized attention, or the small
group setting, while keeping the rest of the class on track? Once again, there is not any
individual attention nor is there constructive classroom management in America.
Student-Teacher Ratio For Primary Grades:

Poland has brought their students up in numbers remarkably since the 1990s. For instance in
literacy alone the numbers have dropped from 23% to 15 %. They are closing the gap and
overall are ranked among the top 15 OECD countries. Pretty impressive. Polish students on
average spend over 4 hours per day on reading and writing. According to a graph from index
mundi in 2014 Poland was ranked 20th with over 99.5% of overall literacy rates. America was
at 22nd position with 90% literacy rates overall. During the Bush administration and the
enactment of NCLB led parents to be upset with more time being spent on math and reading,
and therefore more states opted out of the criteria for this (What US Schools Could Learn).
Though it may seem like a lot of money to spend, Poland only spends on average $5800 per
student for education (OECD). That number is small in comparison to many other countries.
When there is less money in the school, there is less money in the classroom. Generally when
this happens students are not receiving a quality education and the numbers portray this. This
does seem to be true for Poland. They may not have a lot of money per student, however their
numbers continue to rise academically.
Within the classroom is where all of the learning takes place. Ultimately this is more
important than any other area. The curriculum that is taught and how it is taught is where the
number s come in telling us if each student is making progress. Most OECD countries define a
specific number of hours for compulsory instruction. Within that part of the curriculum, schools,
teachers and/or students have varying degrees of freedom to choose the subjects they want to
teach or study. On average among OECD countries, the flexible part of the curriculum accounts
for some 6% of compulsory instruction time for 7-8 year-olds and 9-11 year-olds and 7% for
12-14 year-olds. Poland allows complete flexibility (100%) in the compulsory curriculum for 7-9
year-olds.

Today under the revamped system, primary school lasts six years, followed by three
years of a new comprehensive lower secondary school, before a decision is made on whether
to send a student to vocational training. Knowledge reading, writing, arithmetic is valued
above technical skill. Extending the primary learning track, and not forcing a vocation students
were more amped to learn.
The UN Global Education initiative asks if teachers are prepared to teach the curriculum,
do they have the proper equipment and tools to expand and teach global citizenship. Poland
has begun to work on these issues. Teachers are having better educational opportunities to
drive them into the 21st century of learners. They are slowly acquiring the tools they need as
dollars are being channeled into the school systems.
Educational Dollars In School Systems

OECD (2015), Education spending (indicator). doi: 10.1787/ca274bac-en (Accessed on 21 March 2015)

(The above graph shows where Poland stands in regards to money that is filtered into the public
educational sector. As of 2012 Poland is above the OECD average, coming in above the United
States. )

Poland has waited for the fall of communism for decades. When it finally fell, education
took a very fresh start and the quality and quantity went up. Poland values education in a way
that a lot of countries do not. All of the information that i have written about today gives us a very
real story about how Poland has come so far so fast.

(n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.frse.org.pl/sites/frse.org.pl/files/publication/1273/


system-education-poland.pdf
OECD (2012), Education at a Glance 2012: Highlights, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/
eag_highlights-2012-en
Priorities. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/priorities.html
Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://
www.pearsonfoundation.org/oecd/poland.html
What U.S. schools can learn from Poland - Education By The Numbers. (2014, September 15). Retrieved
March 21, 2015, from http://educationbythenumbers.org/content/u-s-schools-can-learn-poland_1868/
Williams. (2014, August 12). USA Today.