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Bigdaddy Milkman
Oolon Colluphid is my favorite philosopher
02:37 PM on 11/28/2012
How on Earth can Socialist countries have better educational systems than Murica? Free market, for profit education HAS to be the best, doesn't it? Capitalism makes everything better.
Truth leads to enlightenment and wisdom!
02:43 PM on 11/28/2012
So does Science!
wingin it
analyze the stench, to me it makes a lot of sense
02:49 PM on 11/28/2012
Haha. For the elite, yes.
My micro-brew is empty
03:41 PM on 11/28/2012
Perhap we define our "elite" differently. Maybe their "elite" aren't folks like Donald Trump, Lance Armstrong or Michael Vicks. Or not those patriots who love 'Merica but evade taxes and can't wait to move jobs and their money offshore in the name of profit.
My micro-bio is empty
02:37 PM on 11/28/2012
Poland ranked better than the US. Is this finally the end of Polish jokes?
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Time flies like an arrow Fruit flies like a banana
02:39 PM on 11/28/2012
I wouldn`t touch that line with a ten foot Pole
02:47 PM on 11/28/2012
You just touched the business end of a ten foot Polish pole.
12:49 PM on 11/28/2012
That's because we have no child left behind. We believe in full integration of abilities, so our classes move at the rate of the slowest person in the class.
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02:52 PM on 11/28/2012
No, that's because we have political leaders who don't even acknowledge science. In some states they teach creationism. Sorry, when you start leaving science behind you start getting dumber.
03:08 PM on 11/28/2012
No. Nothing to do with that. The countries on top of the list are there because they were the ones who did a better job at leaving no child behind. The US isn't on top because of stuff like teaching children that a god created all the animals.. How can you be at the top when you're actually promoting ignorance.
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09:16 AM on 11/28/2012
I am often intrigued by how Finland runs its educational system. Delaying formal education, going at a slow & steady pace seems to breed deeper understanding of concepts..... Finding the best & the brightest to teach & supporting them accordingly (through salary & benefits)... allowing teachers a certain amount of autonomy in the classroom. Though I think 'No Child Left Behind' was well-intentioned, I think that the impact & importance placed on testing at routine intervals has become problematic.
11:26 AM on 11/28/2012
there are several factors to why finland has scored high over the last few yrs. on these international tests. here is a decent article on finland's education system and why it is a success:
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03:33 PM on 11/28/2012
Good article. Thank you.
My micro-brew is empty
04:00 PM on 11/28/2012
Excellent article. There are many things that we could adopt from the Finnish model and still have our own flavor.
02:48 PM on 11/28/2012
That nasty socialism over there. Terrible.

They ain't exceptional like Amuricans.
The road goes on forever and the party never ends.
02:52 PM on 11/28/2012
They aren't diverse like us amurikens either.
08:05 AM on 11/28/2012
I'm glad that America's schools are brought to the front page of education once again. One of the points that I agree with the most is a cultural change with regards to how we view education in this country. How to we go about measuring the success of a person in the US? Oh, thats right, how much money they have. We rarely look at what education they have and and what contributions they have made to help us as a society as a whole.
11:30 AM on 11/28/2012
I agree, in the US education is often not thought to be good in itself (there is actually a strong anti-intellectualism in the US), but instead education is mainly seen as a means to find employment and make money. While education should do such things, it is also much bigger, should challenge our students, should force them to think and analyze critically, and empower them both in the workplace and outside of it.
07:02 PM on 11/28/2012
I currently teaching my high school students to think critically, which is very hard for them.  Many of them, including my advanced kids, have done well all through school by memorizing facts and having nice handwriting.  When I challenge them they get upset because they actually have to apply their knowledge.  (One small step at a time.)
02:50 PM on 11/28/2012
You would have enjoyed being alive during the 50's through the 70's. Lots of us didn't buy the whole materialism schtick until inflation pushed everyone into the world of dog eat dog.

It was great while it lasted.
07:07 AM on 11/28/2012
In the first place, any article that quotes Michelle Rhee automatically gets points off for accuracy. This is a woman who cheated and lied, all while driving the DC schools into the ground and getting national accolades for doing so. Now, she runs a group whose primary goal is to support for-profit charter schools that take public funds away from schools.

Second, what is likely missing in the Pearson report is the homogenous culture of places like Finland and South Korea, who don't have to deal with multiple languages, financial backgrounds, ethnicities and religions like we do here in the US. We may not rank the highest on the list, but we are the most diversified and welcoming educational system that has ever existed. However, negatively charged articles like this always seem to miss that point.
CA Maestro
Am I teacher of music, or a musician who teaches?
08:36 AM on 11/28/2012
I think Rhee's quote about being competitive with other countries is very telling. It reflects a desire driven by ego, rather than the welfare of our students. The driving force behind the current US educational reform movement is comparative rankings - we don't care what kind of future we are building for our kids, we just want to know that we are "beating" other countries. We have also taken upon ourselves the task of trying to prove that we can send every kid to college, when what we should be doing is building a strong work force throughout the scocio-economic strata.
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09:25 AM on 11/28/2012
I DO think there are a number of things to be learned from Finland's school system. As a black woman, I agree with you that our diversity is a strength. I think there is a lot more that you learn from being around people who are different from you, and those lessons are hard to quantify. But Finland does quite a good job of identifying the top students in every graduating college class & recruiting them as teachers. It is a rigorous task to become a teacher in Finland, and they honor that profession on a level that we do not. This allows them to give their teachers more freedom to determine their own curriculum. I honestly think of the Finnish at the turtle in the 'ole fable of the tortoise & the hare. They delay formal education, but by the time their kids graduate they are leaps & bounds ahead of us. Teachers are able to go into great depth when teaching concepts; they don't rush through concepts in order to ready their kids for the next standardized tests. AND there kids seem to remain engaged.
01:30 PM on 12/05/2012
Finland does not identyfy top students and recruit them as teachers. Students apply for the education. Also, there is not a college institution between teacher education and high school. Fairly good high school students apply and complete tests to get to the masters level education education (not a typo).
Run Tell That!
05:37 AM on 11/28/2012
Turn off the TV, and READ A BOOK!
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Time flies like an arrow Fruit flies like a banana
02:41 PM on 11/28/2012
Get with the times .....READ A KINDLE ....;-)
Age is a high price to pay for maturity.
03:01 PM on 11/28/2012
I'm old lol, I still prefer the book.
73 yr old,Eisenhower Rep. Retired history Teacher
03:35 PM on 11/28/2012
Do they really remember how to read?
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01:23 AM on 11/28/2012
Comparing educational practices internationally may help us all to adapt better practices. I was trained as a teacher in Finland, and I like to share the Finnish know-how of education in my adapted home country, the U.S., and while I am excited to see yet another study highlighting Finland as the best country in education, I am also hoping that the takeaways are much greater than just a simple ranking list.

The one very important message here is about changing the educational culture. We often talk about students, how they are not clones and should not be treated like ones. Nor should countries, educational systems, districts, schools or classrooms be standardized, because learning and teaching is personal and individual.

My question is: How could your class/school/district be global and unique at the same time? What are the positive elements that should be highlighted in order to create more successful outcomes?
05:57 AM on 11/28/2012
that would be "adopted" not "adapted"
Empathy. The faculty to feel what the other feels.
03:03 PM on 11/28/2012
How's your Finnish? Lame comment, or rather, lack of.
Frank Conley
12:54 AM on 11/28/2012
As much as people bash the Teachers Unions, I find it a bit ironic that Finland is rated as having if not the best, one of the best educational systems in the world. I have heard on Fox News even the likes of Mr anti-union John Stossel praise Finland. I wonder if Mr Stossel or Fox News to that matter was even aware the Finland is one of the most Unionzed Nations on the Planet??? I just love it when the anti-union crowd gets put in their place like that lol
09:05 AM on 11/28/2012
Fox News sure does, but the Fox News viewers sure don't.
02:56 PM on 11/28/2012
Your typical Fox Newser doesn't go abroad. That would be treason.
10:48 PM on 11/27/2012
The Canadian education system is the reason that there is no Canadian equivalent to the Fox New Network. It would be laughed off the airwaves.
09:04 PM on 11/27/2012
I live in a suburb of Los Angeles. Nearby are two high schools, Whitney in Cerritos and Oxford in Cypress. Both these schools are highly valued by people from South Korea. I was told that people move from Korea to these communities just so they can attend these schools. I don't know if that's true but I do not there are many Korean nationals and Korean-Americans who attend these schools. These people know that the United States has some of the best schools in the world. Our citizens might not realize it (probably because of all the bad press our schools get) but people from other countries know it.

My own sons got a first-rate education in the local public schools and went on to Harvard and Stanford. American children who have their basic needs met at home usually do very well in school.
09:07 AM on 11/28/2012
No one is saying that there are no good schools in the US. There are always going to be outliers on either end of the spectrum. The problem with the US educational system lies in the fact that good schools are a rarity and not the norm.
10:17 AM on 11/28/2012
International test scores (PISA) tell us that schools for American children not in poverty are among the best in the world and equal to those in Finland and South Korea. Also, our citizens are among the most successful in the world. Choose any field of endeavor (academia, engineering, technology, the arts, sports, entertainment, law, government, medicine, higher ed) and Americans compete nicely with anyone anywhere. Most of these people attended our public schools. The success of our citizens is the best indication of the quality of our schools. We are among the most innovative in the world, a characteristic not lost on educators in other countries who study our system.

In addition to research, we can use our own observations. If you are a middle-class American, look at your family and friends. You will likely find people who can make it anywhere in the world.

That said, we have the highest child poverty rate in the world and these are the children who are not achieving. Again research tells us that the effects of poverty have a huge impact on the quality of a person's education. Simply put, a child must his basic needs met AND a good school in order to do well in school.

For the majority of our citizens, American schools, from kindergarten to Berkeley, are among the best in the world, but we need to make them the best for everyone.
Ignorance is curable, but stupidity is forever!
05:33 PM on 11/27/2012
A Korean visiting scholar at Harvard has this recent insight:

It is problematic that entering top universities is the ultimate goal for many Korean students. Then they would be enjoying freedom after entering "heaven," as they are successful in escaping hell. One critic of the Korean educational system, Dr. Samuel Kim, a senior research scholar at the East Asian Institute of Columbia University, reported that 44 percent of Korean students who enter "top" American universities drop out before graduating. This is much higher than the dropout rate for students from China (25 percent), India (21 percent) and even the 34 percent dropout rate for American students at the same universities. Essentially, years of extra tutoring prepares Korean students for college entrance exams but not for acquiring a college education. That is, Koreans are so good on international test scores because they work overtime being taught to pass these tests. When they enter the real academic world in college, they do not have the skills necessary to succeed.
NPA - no party affiliation
08:25 PM on 11/27/2012
International students do not drop out because "they are not prepared in the real academic world in college", NOR " they drop out because they do not have the skills necessary to succeed". BLATANT LIES.

There is only 1 reason why they drop out before graduation. For the sake of the whole truth: TUITION FEES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS HAVE SKY ROCKETED OVER 1000% and does not include campus accommodations,books, computer usages and food services.

The remaining extra few credits are non-core, earned outside top ivy schools, and still retain a bonafide IVY grad. .

I was 1 of 400 US High School student chosen to finish HS abroad. Many chose Europe. I opted China. South Koreans, Indians are there to represent their countries.

Asian students study diligently in their early years. In comparison, US HS curriculum is so far behind. China's HS curriculum is college level - advanced, rigorous, comprehensive and demanding. I had to compete hard to represent my country, they are always 4 chapters ahead of me.


I challenge you to provide Dr. Kim's, Research Methodology, Design, Analysis and Qualitative Research in Education. I am an actuary/statistician. I'd like to go over his "insights".
Ignorance is curable, but stupidity is forever!
12:08 AM on 11/28/2012
You came off as a know it all and I was tempted to tell you to do your own damn research. However, since I am feeling somewhat benevolent this evening here you go:

Dr. Se Hoon Park has taught at Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea, and is Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, Sungkyunkwan University Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. He lives in Brookline, MA and serves as a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.

New Politics, Winter 2012, Vol: XIII-4
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02:46 PM on 11/28/2012
Here's the thing: if you 'shout' to make your point (ie, writing sentences in upper-case) you have no credibility. Posting your point of view in upper-case is the written equivalent of pounding the table and being out of control. If you want to make your point, don't shout.
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09:33 AM on 11/28/2012
I agree with your insights about how rote learning can be in some countries. Finland seems to be a bit differnt & a really fascinating case study. Fareed Zakaria had an interesting special about a year ago (probably somewhere on youtube), comparing schools in Finland & S. Korea.
flyfishing, education, grandkids
05:19 PM on 11/27/2012
**do not get counted in the testing system.
flyfishing, education, grandkids
05:18 PM on 11/27/2012
These are the worst kinds of articles. Full of inaccuracies and fallacies. First off, Pearson, a British multi-national conglomerate, is totally self-serving in its assessment of schools as it tries to worm its way into American public education. By publishing these faulty reports they build an argument for themselves to provide private, for-profit, services to public schools. But their arguments are built on an entirely false premise. To compare American schools to those in Finland ignores the fact that Finland has virtually no poverty. To compare American high schools to those in S.Korea ignores the fact that in 8th grade Korean students who would probably not do well on standardized tests are already selected out of high school and into the work force and thus, do not The two systems cannot be compared. I am sick and tired of these totally ridiculous reports. To be sure the U.S. has some major problems with education. Nothing listed in this article addresses those real problems.
praying for a return of sanity.
06:03 PM on 11/27/2012
"worm it's way" nothing. Pearson is in charge of the vast majority of textbooks, testing materials, and teaching resources available in America, right down to the online grading systems being utilized by school districts around the country. They've sneakily taken over the public school system already and their last task is to privatize it all. We're late to the fight to try and pry their greedy fingers out of American education.
flyfishing, education, grandkids
06:55 PM on 11/27/2012
I say "worm" you say "sneakily". We are both seriously understating it.
07:36 PM on 11/27/2012
Bravo. How creepy it is to never see Pearson has never been truly exposed.
A Canuck, eh!
03:49 PM on 11/28/2012
As soon as Americans get chastized for something negative, people like yourself call foul. Must be a False News watcher. You can't handle the truth.
flyfishing, education, grandkids
04:14 PM on 11/28/2012
What truth? Do you even know what the truth is regarding international educational testing? Do you know how they do it? Do you know the name of the organizations who are responsible for it? Do you know the false equivalencies involved? Do you know who is tested in each nation? And who is not? Clearly, you do not. I challenge you to find the answers to each of these questions and then, even if you disagree with me, we can have a reasonable and informed dialogue. Until then you are spouting nonsense. BTW, I have no problem chastising the American Education System, as anyone who knows me will attest. I just happen to believe in real data when making real decisions. The testing data that is out there is completely irrelevant and misrepresented. BTW part 2--the testing companies will be the first to tell you that their data is totally misrepresented by the media and the multinational conglomerates who misuse it for their own profit.
04:25 PM on 11/27/2012
"Figures like these have groups like StudentsFirst, headed by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, concerned and calling for reforms to 'our education system [that] can't compete with the rest of the world.'"

...of course, the US education system has essentially been run according to the principles Rhee advocates for the last ten years or so. Yes, growth has flattened. Rhee, and people like her, are primarily responsible.

But if you control for poverty to reflect the fact that we have enormously more kids living in low-income homes than any of the countries outperforming us, we still come dead first.
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05:12 PM on 11/27/2012
We've imported a lot of those kids living in low income homes. Why did we do that?
06:27 PM on 11/27/2012
Judging from your name, I'm guessing you're not a Native American.

We did it because we've got a long-standing policy of accepting immigrants, and it's generally been a positive thing in our history.
barbara jay
my kid says hi
06:34 PM on 11/27/2012
Because we needed workers to do the thankless, low income jobs that most Americans refuse to take.