(New York Review of Books) Diane Ravitch—Schools We Can Envy

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, Pasi Sahlberg explains how his nation’s schools became successful. A government official, researcher, and former mathematics and science teacher, Sahlberg attributes the improvement of Finnish schools to bold decisions made in the 1960s and 1970s. Finland’s story is important, he writes, because “it gives hope to those who are losing their faith in public education.”

Detractors say that Finland performs well academically because it is ethnically homogeneous, but Sahlberg responds that “the same holds true for Japan, Shanghai or Korea,” which are admired by corporate reformers for their emphasis on testing. To detractors who say that Finland, with its population of 5.5 million people, is too small to serve as a model, Sahlberg responds that “about 30 states of the United States have a population close to or less than Finland.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeFinland

1 Comments
Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

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1. Formerly Marion R. wrote:

After you peel through the layers of anti-conservativism you run into this little gem:

Those who are accepted have already taken required high school courses in physics, chemistry, philosophy, music, and at least two foreign languages. Future teachers have a strong academic education for three years, then enter a two-year master’s degree program. Subject-matter teachers earn their master’s degree from the university’s academic departments, not—in contrast to the US—the department of teacher education, or in special schools for teacher education. Every candidate prepares to teach all kinds of students, including students with disabilities and other special needs. Every teacher must complete an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in education.

In short, in Finland the teachers are better educated than the parents. In the U.S. the opposite is true.

February 14, 11:33 pm | [comment link]


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