World Classy

Is there anything Massachusetts can do to STEM the rising tide of mediocrity?

stemcellOnce upon a time there was a little state with big dreams. We’ll call her Massachusetts as that is her name and, since 1993, she has been the standard bearer for educational standards. But the times they are a changin’ and the Massachusetts way of lifting all educational boats by making the school funding sea more equitable no longer seemed cool. Meanwhile a rising tide of mediocrity threatened her shores, a peril not covered by flood insurance. Fortunately a solution awaited on the other side of the pond: a raft of bold ideas for unleashing excellence.  Continue reading →

Learning (Absolutely Nothing) From Finland

Finnish students prepare to take a high-stakes Findardized test. According to Finnish educational custom, their teacher will be exiled to Greenland should the students score poorly on the exam.

We have a lot to learn from Finland’s stunning educational success story—such as how they narrowed a once significant achievement gap (saavutus kuilu in Finnish) to the size of a small crevasse without using a single patented #edreform strategy. I mean, come on Finns! Everyone who is anyone knows that the only way to improve public schools is to close them, hand them over to private operators and fire LOTS of teachers.

And don’t even think about taking on an issue as complex and weighty as addressing education inequities without the heft of a corporate-funded education reform movement behind you. What’s that Finland??? There’s no such thing as Teach for Finland? OK, but you have StudentsFinst right? FinCan? The Finnish Federation of Students? Stand for Finnish Children?  What about Demokraatit  För Koulutuksen Uudistusta or FFER?  Well you MUST have a totally grassroots movement which has emerged spontaneously on college campuses across Finland devoted to eliminating tenure for teachers, or hallintaoikeus as the kids call it. What’s that Finland? You don’t have any of these??? Permit me to make use of Google translator to communicate the following to you: Tässä ei ole mitään vitun järkeä! Continue reading →