Is the secret to Finnish schools Finns or is there something for America to learn?

I am on my way to the General Assembly for the morning rally for school choice and the late afternoon hearing on HOPE.

Going to the Legislature is always a bit depressing because so many legislators focus on a single “fix” for schools. Of late, the fix of the day at the Legislature has been school choice, mostly through expanding charter school options but also through providing vouchers.

What always surprises me about the education reform debate in the General Assembly is that it never looks outward at what is succeeding elsewhere. It fixates on a few magic bullets rather than on a cohesive and comprehensive reform approach.

When shown successful school reform models elsewhere in the world, politicians and educators alike often scoff that there are no lessons for America.

So, in mentioning the remarkable ascent of Finnish schools from historic mediocrity to world dominance, I expect to be told that Finland’s schools are full of focused Finns, and the U.S. can never hope to duplicate the successful data of a Finland or a Canada or a Singapore.

“My experience is that American educators have a list as long as my arm of reasons why this data is irrelevant, totally irrelevant,” said Marc S. Tucker, author of “Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems,” at a recent Education Week panel.

“These other countries educate just a few and we educate everyone. The sampling procedures are clearly wrong. They are totally homogeneous country. We are very diverse,” he said, ticking off the common excuses.

“There is no truth to most of these points, but there is enough conviction among American educators that they are true that they pay no attention at all.  We have to get beyond that,” said Tucker,  CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy.

“These folks are eating our lunch in a matter that will have greater bearing on the success of this country in the next 20 to 30 years than any other,” he said.

“Canada, which is even more decentralized country than us, more diverse and spends less money on education, is beating the pants off of us every time an assessment is done,” said Gary Phillips, a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research. “They are just right up the street.”

The problem, say the experts, is that too many states don’t look up the street or across the world to see what is working.
Nor do our lawmakers, many of whom prefer to champion slogans rather than come up solutions. More school choice!  Offer vouchers!  End teacher unions!

Finland has a strong teachers union, a national curriculum no private schools, yet it is leading the world in student performance.

Finland — and other successful countries — understand that a single policy or a hodgepodge of policies won’t work. You need a coherent system of policies aimed at the same goal. Finland began with a commitment to providing all children the same educational opportunities, and  realized that raising teacher quality was the key.

“We are having a president’s race in Finland now and education is one of those things that everyone agrees must not be touched. Funding should not be touched, nor should education be privatized,” said Pasi Sahlberg, author of “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?”

“We never used excellence as a driver of education reform; we wanted equity and equality as the most important drivers. Funding flows to those who have special needs,” said Sahlberg. “We don’t measure schools so we don’t say this is a bad school or this is a good school in terms of funding. All funding is based on need.”

Finnish schools provide three daily meals. Each has a nurse or doctor so children receive annual checkups. Recess is sacrosanct. In fact, Finnish children spend less time in class and have less homework than American students, and there is no high-stakes testing before the 12th grade.

But the real reform that changed Finnish schools, once in the lower ranks of performance with great gaps in achievement among its students, was the professionalization of teachers in the 1970s and 1980s.

All teachers now have master’s degrees and are trained as researchers “so they understand what they are doing, how they should improve and change their own work,” said Sahlberg. “In Finland, we believe it takes 10,000 hours before you are at the peak of your profession.” In America, he said, many teachers quit before that point.

Finland upgraded standards and admissions for teaching programs and moved them from third-tier institutions to research universities. Along with enhancing status, Finland raised teacher salaries. It’s now more difficult to get into a teaching program than into law or medicine.

While U.S. colleges could impose tougher admissions standards and attract higher-caliber teaching applicants, they could not influence states to commensurately raise salaries.

“What Finland has done about teacher quality is one part of larger framework and all the pieces fit together,” said Tucker. “We keep making minor changes to an education system that is 100 years out of date. It is not that the United States has a bad system. We have no system.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

97 comments Add your comment

KIM

January 25th, 2012
10:42 am

This is very enlightening and ignites my curiosity to do more reading about Finland’s education policies and implementation of them. Thanks

APS parent of 2

January 25th, 2012
11:02 am

Quality teaching is the key to great schools. If we continue to overwork and underpay our teachers, the best of them will leave for better opportunities. You get what you pay for.

thomas

January 25th, 2012
11:04 am

The Finnish model won’t work in the US not because of children or teachers. It won’t work because of our leaders who influence education practices. I would like to blame the conservatives or the repuke’s but the dem’s aren’t that much better, either. None of them will be able to stick with a plan for 20 years. Look at what happened with the math standards. We didn’t even get through a whole cycle of HS class.

What are you talking about?

January 25th, 2012
11:07 am

How about better parenting?

Tiago do Brasil

January 25th, 2012
11:07 am

It is Finns.

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2012
11:08 am

Why don’t we just get the best and the brightest to make education their career in the United States system?

Because the best and the brightest aren’t STUPID!

Tiago do Brasil

January 25th, 2012
11:09 am

The Finnish children are not allowed to tell their teachers: “Shut the f*ck up, B*tch.”

APS Parent

January 25th, 2012
11:09 am

Great post, Maureen, and food for thought about the value of a professionalized and public educational system that is geared toward providing equal opportunities for all. It is unfortunate that most of our leaders in the General Assembly seem to be interested only in the latest anti-public school “reform” (particularly if it involves even further reductions in education funding) and in blaming the usual straw men (teachers organizations, local school boards, the federal government) for our state’s shortcomings. Heaven forbid that we would ever let ourselves learn anything from “socialist Europeans” like the Finns.

billy T

January 25th, 2012
11:10 am

If you want to compare Finland to a similar population of American school children, compare them to the students in Minnesota. Also, compare the characteristics and respect the profession of teaching is given in society. Check out Ed Weeks recent article on education across the globe and you’ll find that Finnish colleges of education recruit from the top quartile of high school graduates, and even then only accept 1 out of 10 applicants into their highly professional and esteemed programs. By contrast, our nation’s teachers historically come from the middle or lower high school ranks and have very little competition; additionally, very little respect and prestige are associated with the profession. Don’t know what you do with that information, but it certainly doesn’t lend itself to simple generalizations.

k teacher

January 25th, 2012
11:11 am

“Recess is sacrosanct.” … this is one of the biggest problems I see in our schools … no time for release and free play time. Where I teach, we can’t go out to the playground unless it is above 50 or below 90. My son, in second grade at my school, needs that time to yell and scream and get the wiggles out to be able to focus. I know most of my kindergarten students need the same. Too bad the higher ups do not see (or care to understand) this. They want us to use research-based practices but this one they throw out the window (or under the thermometer.

Dr. Monica Henson

January 25th, 2012
11:14 am

Lesson #1: “All teachers…are trained as researchers ’so they understand what they are doing, how they should improve and change their own work’”–in other words, the equivalent of National Board Certification is required to be a teacher in Finland.

Lesson #2: “Finnish children spend less time in class and have less homework than American students”–although I am of the school of thought that it is far easier to educate a homogeneous population that all speak the same native language, I also am a strong proponent of the notion that accomplished teachers work SMARTER, not harder.

Lesson #3: Higher salaries for teachers must be justified by more stringent requirements to become a teacher.

Lesson #4: Countries with some form of universal health care improve educational outcomes by tending to students’ medical needs through the school if needed.

Michael Moore

January 25th, 2012
11:28 am

Want to compare apples to apples…compare Finland to Minnesota or Wisconsin. Roughly the same size and homogeneity of culture. Guess who comes out looking bad? Not Finland.

Jill Black

January 25th, 2012
11:33 am

If the schools are so good, then the most talented, brightest, professionals should be coming out of Finland. Who can name one “game-changer” who has come out of Finland in the last 20 years? I guess you get a very good education in Finland and you just stay there.

SPARKY

January 25th, 2012
11:36 am

What a surprise that a country that universal healthcare is more successful at education. And who would have thought a national curriculum is superior to a mish-mash of curricula!

But, no, we will solve our problems with charter schools!

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
11:44 am

@Jill, One thing that Finland can cite: It is a strong open market economy committed to innovation and research. It has the highest labor force proportion working in the fields of research and innovation of all the countries in the world.
Speaking of research: An interesting comment from Jean Gallagher of the Ontario Ministry of Education on the role of research in the stunning progress of schools there:
“We pay attention. Some of the best things we do come from American research. We don’t look for a program in the box that is the magic solution. I have 120,000 classrooms. My job is to improve teaching and learning. You can mandate, talk down and regulate adequacy. You have to inspire excellence.”
Maureen

Pluto

January 25th, 2012
11:52 am

Trying to compare the US to Europe on education is not going to go well for us. The europeans have a long history of excellence in educational pursuits while we tend to “swing for the fence”. As Americans we want to hit the lottery or maybe invent DonkeyKong or some such rot. Few of us are patient or commited enough to pursue long term goals. We have no discipline for math and science; we hate reading, especially the classics and we establish low achievement levels in school. Minimal competency tests are not going to cut it. Let’s shoot for retail positions and move on.

Jill Black

January 25th, 2012
12:01 pm

Please name a few successful Finnish researchers, scientist, business people, entrepreneurs, etc. Where are they using all this superior education to benefit mankind? Or just name a few technologies that have been developed in Finland.

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
12:03 pm

@Pluto, Is Canada a fairer comparison? Their immigrant population is booming, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, both becoming “majority-minority” cities. Yet, their schools are improving.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
12:06 pm

@Jill, I can’t name any individual Finns, but nor can I name any individual Chinese or Indians. But please note, Finland is known for research. Here is a link to a top 10 list of technology-oriented countries.
And guess which is No. 1
http://top-10-list.org/2010/10/01/top-10-technology-oriented-countries/
Maureen.

Ron F.

January 25th, 2012
12:06 pm

Pluto- long term goals aren’t politically expedient, so we end up with someone with a microphone and some cash using the schools as his bully pulpit for another campaign while he shouts about who’s to blame how his silver bullet solution will fix everything. Most couldn’t care less what really happens as long as they win their elections and get donor dollars. We have parents who are interested in change, teachers who would LOVE to see it, but politicians who want to use it for media sound bites.

mountain man

January 25th, 2012
12:14 pm

So how many poor black children go to school in Finnish schools and don’t show up for class 10- 20 days per year?

V for Vendetta

January 25th, 2012
12:16 pm

I won’t deny for a second that there are some pretty interesting aspects to the Finnish school model; however, I think the more obvious (and somewhat snarkier) response is simple:

Yes, it is the Finns.

Finns are famous for their quiet, composed, and meticulous demeanor. They’re like Germans, but minus the fun drinking fests. There is a strong sense of repsect and accountability that runs through their culture, and they are expected to work hard for things such as drivers’ licenses. You know, the kinds of things we take for granted or expect to be given to us for knowing how to breathe.

All of the innovation and excellence is irrelevant until you admit that success starts in the home. Everything else is secondary.

NONPC

January 25th, 2012
12:21 pm

Whatever America might learn from Finnish or Canadian schools, it will not be implemented. Or, better put, it cannot be implemented!

Nobody will commit more to teacher salaries until they PROVE they are worth it.
Those with high academic skills will not commit to a teaching position until the profession pays appropriately.
Teachers will not allow themselves to be judged. PERIOD.
Colleges will not raise teacher/teaching standards.
Parents will not get adequately involved in schools.
Schools will not stop coddling lowest performers at the expense of higher performers.

The reason for the charter school push, which you (MD) have maligned, is that it attempts to bring together more committed teachers/parents/students. That is a valid first step towards achieving bigger goals. It is not a magic bullet, but it is the closest thing we have within our current educational system to defeat the forces of mediocrity and political correctness that are dragging our schools down. It is clear that the current public schools that work the best are those with a community of parents that cares. Perhaps THAT is the single biggest thing that the Finns, Chinese or Canadians have on American schools: parents who demand excellence from their children. I demand excellence from mine, but I can tell you that I am an exception. Other parents just hope their children “pass”.

From the time my kids were in first grade, they were told ” We are . We get A’s. We don’t get C’s, or even very many B’s. We are smarter than that”. And you know something? My kids made A’s. I demand A’s while my neighbors demand “Pass”. We live in a country where Our parents and their parents could make a living with “Pass” and a high school diploma. It hasn’t dawned on a great many parents that the world that was no longer exists. The future will take “EXCEPTIONAL” skill, not “Passing” skill, in order to succeed. So while the world is increasingly demanding exceptional skills, the U.S. is mired in mediocrity at every turn. Mediocre teachers and parents are geared towards producing “Passing” results rather than demanding excellence.

Pluto

January 25th, 2012
12:22 pm

If I was in a comparative frame of mind, I would be interested in emulating the asians and indians. In my limited experiences, asians have the discipline and know-how to lead. We are trying to play catch up while we whittle the education system down in pursuit of a european type social utopia. It seems to me that we have been duped out of pursuit of educational excellence by some elevated desire for cultural diversity. I guess those pushing the diversity thing think it will achieve some desired equal outcome.

nelson

January 25th, 2012
12:47 pm

I am rather Finnish myself. I go xcountry skiing most every day. The fresh, clear, cool air makes my brain active and I am in a learning mode. I am perfectly in tuned with nature. I am ready to learn. After skiing, I go for the finish sauna, it opens up all the pores and once again I am receptive to learning. The secret is being receptive to learning. A little known fact, Hollisters Store is in Helsinki and they are where the latest styles originate.
I have a young relative going over there to learn and model clothes. He has been in the SUNY system and he needs the more structured educational environment of Finland.

carlosgvv

January 25th, 2012
1:00 pm

American teachers, like all other ones worldwide, must work with what they are given. If many of their pupils are at below average intelligence, don’t expect them to ever match Finland or many other countries with a smarter set of students

HS Public Teacher

January 25th, 2012
1:17 pm

@NONPC –

Oh please! Do you really think that charter schools have no warts? What fool’s paradise do you live in?

As the number of charter schools grow and as the number of students attending them increase, there will be AS MANY horror stories coming out of them as other schools – ESPECIALLY if this ’school choice’ thing were to happen.

The only reason that currently there are not is because it is the concerned and involved parents that are pushing for charter school and choice and/or going to private schools. If the “dam” is broken and ALL kids can go ANYWHERE – then where is the safe haven? The trouble makers, the kids from bad parents, and so on, will disperse to ALL schools with their vouchers in hand!

Again, look to Florida as the example. They TRIED this already. It has FAILED there. The only “safe haven” in Florida is the ultra-expensive private schools where the parents have to pay TONS more money to keep out the ‘riff-raff’. And, in Florida this is the professional athletes and a few select others. Do you REALLY want Georgia to follow their example?

Nat Turner

January 25th, 2012
1:22 pm

If one more person mentions political correctness in schools, I am going to scream. The people demanding that are parents. They do not want to hear the truth about their children. They demand that their children receive rewards for just participating. They demand that their children go on field trips when they do not deserve to go for behavior reasons. They demand that their children be allowed to make up assignments, and improve their grades.

And Carlos, are you talking about the Bell Curve? I have gotten the impression from your many posts that you feel that certain races are inferior intellectually.

Nat Turner

January 25th, 2012
1:25 pm

HS Public Teacher, amen! And I love the misconception that these are the poor children. I have met many kids that come from wealthy parents that are trouble makers. They do it out of boredom, from never having any “real world” problems, to see if they can get away with it, and from having parents that will move heaven and Earth with their influence and their money to keep their kid from facing consequences for their actions.

cris

January 25th, 2012
1:26 pm

I think of education in the US as the latest diet fad (be it pill, eating plan, etc.). The latest fad comes onto the market – it has had a few success stories (regardless of how dangerous it may be), but it won’t work for the vast majority for many different reasons. But the general public buys and tries the latest fad hoping they will be in the extremely small group that it actually works for. Turns out to be a waste of time and money. Then we start all over again…..and those marketing the fad get richer and richer….it seems to me sometimes we’re victims of our own capitalist success….

White Elephant

January 25th, 2012
1:29 pm

Parents are the key to everything. And if someone is more interested in their own career, or whether or not they’ll make the ATLA league, then their children are forced to raise themselves. Then it all goes downhill from there. WAKE UP, AMERICA: YOUR CHILDREN WANT THEIR PARENTS, not a daycare center to raise them. And maybe once you’re truly connected to your children, you will only advocate for the very best of everything for them. Including their education.

Jill Black

January 25th, 2012
1:30 pm

@ Maureen, the Chinese and Indian individuals are in Silican Valley making peoples’ lives better. The Finnish research is very impressive but most will take years, if not decades to benefit mankind. The Finnish research topics “feel good” to many educators. I do not think for one minute America has a good education system, but to compare it to Finland’s is a bit much.

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
1:32 pm

@Jill, I think many people share your attitude but folks who study world economies and the role of education warn that we will be making a terrible miscalculation if we ignore what we can learn from Finland, Canada and Singapore under the rationale that we are too different.
Marc Tucker’s book addresses that very issue.
Maureen

Halftrack

January 25th, 2012
1:35 pm

The main emphasis here is upon celebrities and sport idols, as they are the highest paid people. Finn’s don’t have to compete with that. Also China sends their brightest and best students to higher education. Their best and brightest are 200 million strong. This is almost the population of the U.S. We are outnumbered already in achievement potential. We need another “Sputnik” surge in education and it’s importance for us to survive. Who will take Steve Jobs place; if we don’t provide incentives for new discoveries or inventions?

tony

January 25th, 2012
1:36 pm

what would happen if schools where segregated again ? would the test scores go up ? would private school enrollmemnt drop? this is just a question for the readers

Mary Elizabeth

January 25th, 2012
1:37 pm

Poverty is, also, directly related to educational results (See data below). Intelligence (mentioned earlier) and poverty are only two variables in American schools which keep students from greater achievement. Another is imprecise instruction. I have several times mentioned a need for a Mastery Learning Instructional Model. There are, also, many personal factors which effect students’ learning, such as learning disabilities, emotional and behavior disorders, physical and medical problems, etc.

=================================================

Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years.

The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this.
————————————————————————

Note: Those Americans in poverty increased from 31 million to 46 million within the decade from 2000 to 2010.

==================================

Attentive Parent

January 25th, 2012
1:40 pm

maureen-only about 20% of the PISA international assessment that is being used to generate these high performing lists can be considered content knowledge of any kind.

Mostly PISA is measuring values, attitudes, and beliefs. So the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the Scandinavian country that was only nominally free during the ColdWar apparently dovetails with what the Paris based OECD would like to see in all citizens all over the world.

PISA is a scam. Changing ed systems chasing after it guarantees a nonacademic focus.

What precisely is your definition of a strong open market economy?

The Finns themselves consider it to be market socialism.

Gracious I am tired of misinformation in education.

Silly Bloggers

January 25th, 2012
1:44 pm

I just wanted to comment on this as I lived in Finland for a while and dated a Finnish girl for years. I was absolutely stunned at the quality of education and the communication between parents and their children.

First off, the country is very secular. While religion is present, it is a private affair for those who follow it and it never invades any aspect of the political agenda regarding education. In fact, it is severely frowned upon in those rare cases it is breached.

Outside of “booksmart” education, they educate their children on teenage sex, abortion, drug-abuse, etc…taboo subjects in the United States, but a form of full disclosure at an early age to their children. To no surprise, they experience one of the highest standards of living in the world and have extraordinarily low percentages for teenage sex, STD’s, hate crimes, and crime overall.

Lastly, to add to the level of expertise. Not only do they demand a very good education to become a teacher, they usually only take the top third of graduates to actually become graduates. That means taking the very best to teach our children. In the United States, the majority of teachers come from the bottom 25% of graduates. That is not to insult any college grad…graduation is something to be proud of for any college, but simply to take the best of the best to teach our children.

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
1:48 pm

@Attentive, Those were Pasi Sahlberg’s exact words. (He is a Finnish researcher.) I would disagree with you on your description of modern-day Finland’s economy.
Odd that Finland would win out on what you call the values metrics of PISA and so does Singapore.
Maureen

Pluto

January 25th, 2012
2:05 pm

@ Mary Elizabeth … I lived and worked below the American “poverty” level during my college experience. I received none of the goodies one receives now when they qualify. The term poverty in this country has been “dumbed down” to another meaningless code word. Most in poverty today have a/c, cable tv, xbox and various amenities not usually considered when one mentions the word. Maybe there are too many distractions?

jj

January 25th, 2012
2:13 pm

The Canadian immigration story is vastly different from the US. Most are Asian and speak the language, in the US most are Mexican and do not speak the language.
The nuclear family is alive and well in Canada, in the US 70% of African Americans are from single parent families. As someone pointed out earlier US students feel free to tell their teachers to “F” off, and as a punishment the child’s parent comes in and chews out the admin and the teacher for not controlling their little darling. In Canada they are tossed out of school.
Until this country respects education and stands up for teachers and admin, instead of worrying about how everybody “feels”, we will continue to lose on the world stage.

Attentive Parent

January 25th, 2012
2:15 pm

Then Sahlberg is a propagandist trying to mislead the American public on the nature of the Finnish economy. One of the reasons Stalin left Finland unabsorbed was so he could use it to experiment with manipulative economic and social practices that then could be advocated for in the West.

Singapore is an authoritarian society. Remember the caning punishment? And no chewing gum?

Societies with a strongly collective focus that do not respect individualism do well on PISA.

Probably why Shanghai does well too.

I have studied Finland and minored in economics. The Finns can have whatever kind of economic system they wish. What they do not get to do is obscure its nature in order to obscure what PISA measures.

I have all the PISA documents too. That’s their characterization, not mine. It just started in 1998 and its function is to measure values, attitudes, and beliefs primarily. If the Scandinavian countries had gotten their way, there would be no content knowledge at all.

And yes I am aware with how HB 186 dovetails with PISA. The question is is the General Assembly and do they appreciate what model they are really trying to emulate in Georgia going forward.

It really caught my interest when Tucker (Americas Choice for you in Dekalb is his product), Linda Darling-Hammond, Michael Fullan, Michael Barber (who hired Kathy Cox), and Tony Wagner were all joining together saying emulate Finland. Emulate Finland. I call them the bad idea international brigade and for good reason.

Maybe we could get Martha Reichrath to push. She apparently thinks American schoolchildren should be bound by the EU’s Maastricht treaty. Our state deputy super thinks that Georgia schoolchildren need to be taught that individualism leads to oppression and exploitation.

Maureen Downey

January 25th, 2012
2:19 pm

@Attentive: From US State Department:

Finland has a highly industrialized, free-market economy with a per capita output equal to that of other western economies such as France, Germany, Sweden, or the U.K. The largest sector of the economy is services (64.9%), followed by manufacturing and refining (32.4%). Primary production is at 2.7%.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3238.htm#econ

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2012
2:23 pm

Why don’t we take 100 Finnish teachers and drop them in America, and take 100 America teachers and drop them in Finland?

Something tells me, it’s not JUST the teacher. Although I COULD see the following exchange between a Finnish teacher here, and her colleague back home:

Finn here: I can’t believe the lack of grammar skills
Finn there: The students?
Finn here: No, the educators!

But then again, why let a pesky little thing like grammar get in the way of an administrator leading the way with “rigorously applied rigorousness in rigor”?

Based on “the research” of course.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

January 25th, 2012
2:38 pm

Say the sharks come a crusin…

Old timer

January 25th, 2012
2:59 pm

I think itnhasntomdomamlotmwith culture….

Attentive Parent

January 25th, 2012
3:35 pm

Well Maureen I don’t know what the state dept’s def of free market is but the World Bank disagrees.

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/Resources/finland.pdf

It characterizes its economy as State interventionist and corporatist on page 14 and dirigiste on page 18.

Page 21 talks about the “pragmatic interventionism and co-operation between the State and the private sector” and how “Finnish economic decisionmaking reflected” the relationships between the State and business elite.

Page 22 talks about the political demand in Finland for social corporatism and then the partnership between business, trade unions, and the State.

Also explains incomes policy.

Curious concept of free markets. Private property ownership does not mean free markets.

Paper nicely outlines Finns economic and political history over the 20th and is recent.

Ron F.

January 25th, 2012
4:19 pm

@silly- “In the United States, the majority of teachers come from the bottom 25% of graduates.”

Your data on that one, please. I can’t speak for the whole country, but in the schools I have worked in here in GA, the bottom 25% couldn’t get a job. I finished in the top 10% in undergrad and top 1% in my master’s program.

Beverly Fraud

January 25th, 2012
4:20 pm

Don’t mess with Attentive Parent!

Mikey D

January 25th, 2012
4:53 pm

It is really disingenuous of our political leaders to consistently hold out Finland as a model for schools, and then turn right around and prohibit teachers in America from doing what makes the Finnish teachers successful — namely having the autonomy to do what’s best for their students without the heavy-handed, top-down mandates that we have here in America. It starts at NCLB and RTTT and trickles all the way down to the power-hungry idiots who occupy our local central offices.