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The dirty word that’s key to the success of Finland’s educational reform: Equity

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After a decade of frantic testing and endless fingerpointing about who’s to blame for the failing education system in the United States, it might be time to take a really hard and honest look at what is working for Finland, the Western country that doesn’t cow to the test scores of East Asia and yet also doesn’t follow their model. Though the U.S. loves the concept of equality, the practice in the field of education is sorely lacking and becomes particularly obvious as public schools in some areas are making drastic cuts whereas others emerge untouched.

Plenty of advice has been sought from Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility, but the key part of his formula that is consistently glossed over by American audiences and media is Finland’s focus on equity.

“When President Kennedy was making his appeal for advancing American science and technology by putting a man on the moon by the end of the 1960′s, many said it couldn’t be done,” Sahlberg said during his visit to New York. “But he had a dream. Just like Martin Luther King a few years later had a dream. Those dreams came true. Finland’s dream was that we want to have a good public education for every child regardless of where they go to school or what kind of families they come from, and many even in Finland said it couldn’t be done.”

And yet, it was.

Full story at The Atlantic.

Eye on education.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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