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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,653

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What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

*note: Finland is not Scandinavian, but it is Nordic - sd

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known -- if it was known for anything at all -- as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life -- Newsweek ranked it number one last year -- and Finland's national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.

Finland's schools owe their newfound fame primarily to one study: the PISA survey, conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best.

Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model -- long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization -- Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play. All this has led to a continuous stream of foreign delegations making the pilgrimage to Finland to visit schools and talk with the nation's education experts, and constant coverage in the worldwide media marveling at the Finnish miracle.

More here: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/
Posted by stevedeshazer | Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:35 PM (35 replies)

I'm not very religious, but I could use your help this Christmas.

My brother, my only sibling, is dying of stage four glioblastoma, the worst type of brain cancer.

He's gone through a horrible divorce, the death of our mom, and now the realization that he won't be around for his three young kids.

All in the last fucking horrible year.

He's my little brother, just 50 years old.

The docs say he has just a few weeks to live. He's been through all the treatments that are standard care, radiation and chemotherapy, and infusions of Avastin.

So, my family is heading out this Christmas to spend it with him one last time.

And Monday, we will be near courtside with our sons to see the season opener of our beloved Blazers vs. the Sixers.

Next week, if he makes it, we'll take our boys to the coast over New Year's weekend.

I don't mean to be a downer, but thoughts and karma and yeah, I guess prayers would be helpful.

Peace and love to all.

Hug someone you care about, RIGHT FUCKING NOW, because it might be your last chance.

For Christmas Eve, here is Darlene Love!


Posted by stevedeshazer | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 08:53 PM (1 replies)

Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war

I always wanted to be the one who posted this.


(Reuters) - The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and left a country still grappling with political uncertainty.

The war launched in March 2003 with missiles striking Baghdad to oust dictator Saddam Hussein closes with a fragile democracy still facing insurgents, sectarian tensions and the challenge of defining its place in the Arab region.

The final column of around 100 mostly U.S. military MRAP armored vehicles carrying 500 U.S. troops trundled across the southern Iraq desert through the night along an empty highway and across the Kuwaiti border.

Honking their horns, the last batch of around 25 American military trucks and tractor trailers carrying Bradley fighting vehicles crossed the border early on Sunday, their crews waving at fellow troops along the route.


More @ link.
Posted by stevedeshazer | Sun Dec 18, 2011, 02:14 AM (9 replies)

A brief lesson in local economies.

It is a slow day in a little Greek village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a 100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the 100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the 100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the 100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the 100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the 100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the 100 note back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the 100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the bailout package works!

Credit: http://bojack.org/2011/12/stop_me_if_youve_heard_this_on_3.html

Posted by stevedeshazer | Thu Dec 15, 2011, 08:06 PM (2 replies)
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