Pasi Sahlberg, former director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility, author of Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, will be speaking at Wellesley College at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13th, in the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Auditorium. This lecture is free and open to the public.
Sahlberg was actively engaged in planning and implementing the Finnish education reforms in the 1990s that have made Finnish schools among the best in the world. At Wellesley College Sahlberg will discuss the importance of teacher professionalism, collective autonomy, and trust, and argue that the most important educational ideas behind Finland’s success are borrowed from American public schools.
from Living in Dialogue
By Anthony Cody
... The Gates Foundation sponsored the Common Core in order to work around laws that prevented the federal Department of Education from enacting national standards. Massachusetts has long led the nation in student achievement, so it was a challenge to convince policy makers there to jettison the state’s standards in favor of the Common Core.
There is currently an effort under way to place an initiative on the state ballot which would reverse the state’s embrace of the Common Core. But individuals associated with the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) have filed a lawsuit to block the initiative from being voted upon. The MBAE last year received a $375,000 grant for general operating expenses from the Gates Foundation – on top of $250,000 it received in 2013, and $151,431 in 2010. The New Boston Post reports:
End Common Core Massachusetts, the citizens group behind the ballot question, earlier this year garnered enough signatures to advance the measure. But on Jan. 22, ten plaintiffs sued to stop the question from reaching the voters. Plaintiffs include William Walczak who is a director of the [Massachusetts Business] Alliance, and Jack Dill, who is on its advisory council.
The MTA supports the opt-out movement — the right of parents to opt their children out of state standardized tests. Opting out, or refusing the test, is a powerful way to protest the misuse of high-stakes tests in Massachusetts public schools. With each year the opt-out movement is growing. Last year, 640,000 students across the country refused to take state standardized tests. The largest number of students to opt out was in New York. In Seattle, the entire 11th-grade class at the Nathan Hale High School boycotted the state test in reading and math.
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.
–John Adams, 1779