Finnish Educationalist Pasi Sahlberg explains why we should ignore the reform strategies put forward by successive British politicians who dismiss the potential lessons of Finish educational reform because of their ideological inconvenience. Sahlberg explains how equity results in higher educational outcomes and more equal educational opportunities for all children.
"GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) has emerged since the 1980s and has increasingly become adopted as a educational reform orthodoxy within many education systems throughout the world, including in the U.S., England, Australia and some transition countries. Tellingly, GERM is often promoted through the interests of international development agencies and private enterprises through their interventions in national education reforms and policy formulation...Since the 1980s, at least five globally common features of education policies and reform principles have been employed to try to improve the quality of education and fix the apparent problems in public education systems:
(1) Standardization of education (shifting the focus of attention to educational outcomes); (2) Focus on core subjects in school (at the expense of social studies, arts, music and physical education); (3) The search for low-risk ways to reach learning goals (minimizing experimentation + reducing use of alternative pedagogical approaches); (4) Use of corporate management models as a main driver of improvement (limits the role of national policy development and enhancement of an education system’s own capabilities to maintain renewal); (5) Test-based accountability policies for schools (linking success or failure of schools and teachers with standardized tests and external teacher evaluations). None of these elements of GERM have been adopted in Finland in the ways that they have within education policies of many other nations, for instance, in the United States and England. This, of course, does not imply that education standards, focus on basic knowledge and skills, or accountability should be avoided in seeking better educational performance. Nor does it suggest that these ideas were completely absent in education development in Finland. But, perhaps, it does imply that a good education system can be created using alternative approaches and policies orthogonal to those commonly found and promoted in global education policy markets...(from Pasi Sahlberg Blog: GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL REFORM MOVEMENT IS HERE!)
-- Watch Excellence and Equity by Sahlberg
-- Watch GERM that kills schools
-- Watch How Finland remains immune to the Global Educational Reform Movement
-- Read How GERM is infecting schools around the world on the Washington Post
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