Sunday, January 8, 2012

U.S. Ignores Crucial Part of Finland's Education Success

An interesting  article in this month's issue of The Atlantic about the Finnish education system was brought to my attention by Susan Sharp.   In it the author points out the U.S. is ignoring a critical point about the success of the schools in Finland; there are no private schools in Finland (okay, maybe one or two) and yet that seems to be the driving force behind school reform in this country.

 In the article, Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? goes on to state something rather curious and apparently lost on American policy makers (including our own legislators in Michigan). Below is what Sahlberg says.

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. "There's no word for accountability in Finnish," he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."

Some how we need to make our policy makers aware of the research and facts and not let them get away with using rhetoric and sound bites to drive policy.  Thanks for the article, Susan.

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