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Posted By: Allen Lambert on November 30, 2012
Tamir identifies 4 differences between US and Finish school system which presumably account for "better" outcome (higher test scores) of the latter, but omits historical and cultural differences of significance. Thus, Finland is a very small population and very homogenous culturally (compared to US). Size and context probably make more difference than those identified. In addition, Finland has a long history of national centralization (like most European nation-states) vs US which has a political history of decentralization and active resistance to centralization -- also a powerful force.

Tamir points to Finish "selection of the best" for teaching. I do not know how such selection takes place or gets guided, but some kind of central or system selection is not possible in the US with its emphasis on individual and individual choice in an open market and no centralized allocation of people to positions.

Given that socio-econ condition and ethnic/racial history contribute much to student achievement/performance, one should compare Finish students to those US students that correspond to the same SES as Finish (which does not have a history of slavery or large % of very poor).

Debate over public vs charter is too restrictive, given that the charter school is basically a public school and only a modest part of alternatives. How about other forms of choice, e.g., vouchers, private schools, etc.

And so on for a full debate about future of public schooling.

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 Finland? by Allen Lambert on November 30, 2012
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