Samuel Abrams, a researcher at Teachers College, Columbia University, was named a knight by the Finnish government.

“The honor was bestowed before family, friends, and colleagues in recognition of Abrams’s advancement of the understanding of Finnish education in the United States. Abrams has conducted a vast amount of research on Nordic as well as American education systems. Much of this research will appear in his book “The Children Must Play: Education, Business, and Conflict,” to be published by Harvard University Press in 2015.”

Sam Abrams taught for many years at Beacon High School in Néw York City.

“When asked about a specific trend or issue as a key factor in the success of Finnish education, Abrams brought up two things: the well-rounded curriculum of the Finnish educational system and the professionalization of teaching. In contrast to the American curriculum, Abrams said, the Finnish curriculum for students in grades one through nine comprises a lot of arts, crafts, music, and play while consisting of no standardized testing. Abrams said the Finnish approach thereby not only makes school more enticing for children but also cultivates significant collaborative skills and provides natural, hands-on opportunities for learning math and science. According to Abrams, this philosophy, combined with a nutritious hot school lunch, which is free for all students, makes Finnish schooling so effective.”

Abrams advised the Finns not to worry about PISA scores but to continue to do what was best for children.