One important aspect of the success of children (and probably teachers, too) though is the early education benefits they receive. Writes Yglesias:
You really can't put a price on good education. You simply can't. And if this country wants to compete the way we used to, we'd better start refocusing our priorities toward the welfare and minds of our children.
Early childhood policy in Finland in a nutshell:
Mothers are entitled to five weeks maternity leave. After that, there’s a parental leave period of ten additional months that can be taken by either mother or father or divided between the two. After that, children have an “unconditional right to day care.” That can be provided either at municipal-run institutions or else at private ones. There are fees day care charged on a sliding scale according to income that max out at 233 euros per month. That’s far less than the cost of care, which, clearly, is heavily subsidized. A family that prefers to have a parent stay home and take care of the children can do so and receives a home care subsidy. Thus, the system is neutral between traditional and working-mother models. About 30 percent of Helsinki children are in the home care / allowance system.