Ten years ago — against all odds — Finland was ranked as the world’s top education nation. It was strange because in Finland education is seen as a public good accessible to all free of charge without standardized testing or competitive private schools, says Pasi Sahlberg, author of “ Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn About Educational Change in Finland? and director general of Finland’s Center for International Mobility and Cooperation. When I look around the world, I see competition, choice, and measuring of students and teachers as the main means to improve education. This market-based global movement has put many public schools at risk in the United States and many other countries, as well. But not in Finland. You may ask what has made Finland’s schools so extraordinary. The answer has taken many by surprise. First, the Finns have never aimed to be the best in education but rather to have good schools for all of children. In other words, equity in education comes before a ‘race to the top’ mentality in national school reforms…

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