Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

Diane Ravitch reports about educational reform in Finland in her New York Review of Books article, "Schools we can envy."

"Pasi Sahlberg (author of the Finnish Lessons book) recognizes that Finland stands outside what he refers to as the “Global Education Reform Movement,” to which he appends the apt acronym “GERM.” GERM, he notes, is a virus that has infected not only the United States, but the United Kingdom, Australia, and many other nations. President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program are examples of the global education reform movement. Both promote standardized testing as the most reliable measure of success for students, teachers, and schools; privatization in the form of schools being transferred to private management; standardization of curriculum; and test-based accountability such as merit pay for high scores, closing schools with low scores, and firing educators for low scores."

"In contrast, the central aim of Finnish education is the development of each child as a thinking, active, creative person, not the attainment of higher test scores, and the primary strategy of Finnish education is cooperation, not competition."

(Thanks to Post Oak School parent Joey Hayles for forwarding this article to me.)

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