Advisor to Obama to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki

Linda Darling-Hammond, one of the most distinguished teacher education specialists in the world, will be conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Helsinki. Professor Darling-Hammond praises the Finnish system of practice teaching.

Professor of Education at Stanford University, Linda Darling-Hammond focuses on educational equity and the cultural richness that springs from having a diverse minority base.

A former advisor to President Barack Obama, she is one of the most influential figures affecting educational policy in the United States, one of the leading experts on teacher education in the world, and soon, an honorary doctor of the University of Helsinki.

She will receive the title of doctor honoris causa on 23 May in the solemn conferment of Master's and doctoral degrees to take place in the Great Hall of the University. The Faculty of Philosophy is holding this ceremony for the 96th time this year.

Blatant inequality

Darling-Hammond heads the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, where she is known as an advocate of high-quality teaching and restructuring of the school.

The U.S. desperately needs strong experts on education policy.The blatant inequality of education is evident in comparison with the other industrialised countries, says Darling-Hammond.

“The best schools cream off the best students, and the bad schools are left with the bad students.The spectrum is extremely wide.”

“We need a new national policy that allows schools to rise up to the challenges of the 21st century. We must take better care of our children. How can you go to school if you do not even have a place to live?”

Teacher training schools are like teaching hospitals

Darling-Hammond finds the Finnish system of teacher education to be the best world-wide.

“All Finnish students in teacher education programmes complete practice teaching, but American students lack this opportunity. Practice teaching promotes independence and problem-solving skills.The teacher training school is what a teaching hospital is to students of medicine, an alliance between theory and practice,” she applauds.