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View Diary: Billionaire donors drive anti-teacher, pro-testing education reform agenda (213 comments)

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  •  I'm tired of hearing about Finland. Finland has 5 (5+ / 0-)

    million people, less population and diversity than Massachusetts, one of the smallest states in the US.  Finland is also a homogeneous country.  Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Utah all do just as well as Finland.  It's easy to get a consensus of expectations in a homogeneous country.  You don't have Finnish kids afraid of excelling because then they would be "acting white."  You don't have people arguing about what a national curriculum should entail.  

    The United States of America is not Finland and would never be.   For starters we have 60 times the population of Finland.

    •  Yup. It's like comparing a wealthy suburban school (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, elfling

      to an inner city school and trying to apply the same tools that worked for the suburban school to the inner city school and expecting it to work.  

      Finland is a very abundant country full of natural resources with very few people in it.  They have a single major urban center.  That's it.  

      It's much more reasonable to compare the US with the whole of Europe (including Eastern Europe), and not a tiny country that has been living off the spoils of the tech boom and a cheap euro currency because of the Mediterranean.  

      •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

        if we actually applied what we do in wealthy suburban schools to inner city schools then our own situation would be much more like Finland's. All we'd really need to do is spend just as much per student in both schools. Finland doesn't tolerate under-funding public schools no matter who they serve...so why do we?

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Mon May 21, 2012 at 06:16:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A few things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Helena Handbag, maf1029, redlum jak

      First off, it was the corporate ed reformers who decided Finland was the model, they just left out that it didn't conform to any of their agenda. Those pushing back have rightly pointed out that Finland has little in common with the corporate ed agenda and in fact it is quite closer to the progressive agenda.  

      That said, simply stating ways that Finland is different than the US isn't an argument. Does 'diversity' impede educational outcomes, as you suggest? If so, how?  I doubt the answers will be convincing, if you imagine that the problems are about 'acting white'.  

      It's true that there are places and schools that do just as well as Finland. Are they one's that have been at the forefront of adopting the corporate ed agenda? No.  

      FWIW, Finland had major problems until it decided to tackle inequality and better support its teachers.  

      A nation founded in name of self-determination & popular government has no business supporting autocratic regimes.. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Sun May 20, 2012 at 08:18:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does diversity impede ed outcomes? (0+ / 0-)

        Well, do you think it might "impede outcomes' if you teach a child in English when the child speaks Spanish?  D'ya think that this little thing called "the language barrier" might affect how well the Spanish-speaking child learns?

        •  When the parents speak only spanish (0+ / 0-)

          and especially if they are not literate in any language, it makes it very challenging to establish a productive parent-teacher partnership.

          Secondarily, many of these families are migrant, following work wherever it leads, meaning that they don't stay in one school for even a whole school year, further deteriorating the relationships that are made between teachers and families.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon May 21, 2012 at 08:08:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Students who don't speak the (0+ / 0-)

          language of instruction may be a barrier,  but 'diversity' is not.

          A nation founded in name of self-determination & popular government has no business supporting autocratic regimes.. @DavidKaib

          by David Kaib on Mon May 21, 2012 at 07:59:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  yet another reason why the U.S. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lh1695
      Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Utah all do just as well as Finland.
      should break up into about 20 different countries. I'm tired of subsidizing Mississippi, and they are -- apparently -- tired of me trying to push my San Francisco values (e.g. biology textbooks, social tolerance, women who aren't forced to give birth) on them.

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