Pasi Sahlberg on “the germ that kills schools”

Watch Pasi Sahlberg video

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.

text of petition to end Common Core in Massachusetts that did not make it to the Nov. 8th ballot

Title: Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Ending Common Core Education Standards

Be it enacted by the people and their authority:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the vote taken by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 21, 2010, to adopt the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts is hereby rescinded. The curriculum frameworks in Mathematics and English Language Arts that were in effect prior to that date are hereby restored.

SECTION 2. Section 1D of Chapter 69 is hereby amended in the second paragraph by inserting after the first sentence, the following new sentences:

The process shall include committees made up exclusively of public school teachers and academics from private and public colleges and universities established and operated in Massachusetts. The commissioner shall copyright the frameworks, which shall be wholly owned by the department; permission shall be granted to copy any or all parts of these frameworks for non-commercial educational purposes.

SECTION 3. Said section 1D of chapter 69 is hereby further amended in the second paragraph by inserting after the third sentence the following new sentences:

There shall be three review committees, one for each discipline of math, science and technology and English. Each review committee shall have three members appointed by the governor who shall choose said members from private or public research universities established and operated in Massachusetts for each of the disciplines. For the purposes of this section, a “research university” is any university that awards doctoral degrees in the arts and sciences. Each review committee shall warrant by a two-thirds vote that the frameworks are equivalent to the standards of the most educationally advanced nations as determined by the Trends in Mathematics and Sciences Study. No framework shall be approved by the board without such a warrant.

SECTION 4. Section 1I of Chapter 69 is hereby amended in the third paragraph by inserting after the second sentence, the following new sentence:

In order to better inform the teachers and administrators about the diagnostic assessments, after the administration of the assessments but before the start of the new school year, the commissioner shall release all of the test items, including questions, constructed responses and essays, for each grade and every subject.

SECTION 5. The several provisions of this Act are independent and severable and the invalidity, if any, of any part or feature thereof shall not affect or render the remainder of the Act invalid or inoperative.

SECTION 6. This act shall take effect immediately upon becoming law.

I have personally reviewed the final text of this Initiative Petition to End Common Core Education Standards, fully subscribe to its contents, and agree to be one of the original signers of the petition:

Did the Gates Foundation squelch the ballot initiative to reverse Common Core in Massachusetts?

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.

standardized test scores: it’s all about income



$ 0 -  $20,000 435 453 426 1314
$20,000 - $40,000 465 477 452 1394
$40,000 - $60,000 488 495 471 1454
$60,000 - $80,000 503 509 485 1497
$80,000 - $100,000 517 527 501 1545
$100,000 - $140,000 530 539 513 1582
$140,000 - $200,000 542 553 528 1623
More than  $200,000 569 586 562 1717
Calculated by FairTest from: College Board, College-Bound Seniors 2016: Total Group Profile Report

MTA’s stance on opting out

Opting Out

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.

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Lecture by Pasi Sahlberg at Wellesley College: “The inconvenient Truth About American Education”

The Diane Silvers Ravitch Lecture Series

October 13, 2016 at 7:30 PM in the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Auditorium

Wellesley College’s Department of Education is proud to welcome Pasi Sahlberg for the Diane Silvers Ravitch Class of ’60 lecture on current issues in public education. His talk, entitled “The Inconvenient Truth About American Education Reform,” will address some of the problematic and unintended consequences of approaches to reform in the American education system.

Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and scholar. He worked as a teacher, teacher educator, and policy adviser in Finland and was actively engaged in planning and implementing education reforms in Finland in the 1990s. His research interests include international education policies, educational change, teacher education, and classroom teaching and learning. In this lecture, Sahlberg will discuss the critical 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.

In addition to his popular Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (2015), Finnish Lessons (2011), and other books, he has published more than one hundred articles in journals, research periodicals and magazines around the world. Some of the most read ones include “The Fourth Way of Finland” (2011), “Rethinking Accountability in a Knowledge Society” (2010), “Creativity and innovation through lifelong learning” (2009), and “Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness” (2006).

Sahlberg received a Master of Science (Mathematics) in 1984 from University of Turku and PhD from the University of Jyvaskylä in 1996. He has served the World Bank in Washington, D.C., the European Commission and the OECD as an external expert advising foreign governments in more than 50 countries around the world.

Generously supported by The Diane Silvers Ravitch Fund for Public Education, this event is free and open to the public.

New Jersey Triples Weight of Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

This method has been debunked by the American Statistical Association and the American Educational Research Association. It has been in use in Colorado and in many states for five years without producing any results.

This is faith-based policy.

The only sensible aspect of this change is that it counts only for teachers who teach the tested subjects in the tested grades. In neighboring New York and in other states, this discredited method applies to all teachers, and they are judged by the scores of students they didn’t teach in subjects they don’t teach.

In New York, an outstanding fourth grade teacher, Sheri Lederman, sued the state after receiving a low rating. The judge ruled that the rating system was “arbitrary and capricious.” For now, the rating system is in abeyance. At some point the Regrnts and Legislature will have to clarify how this ruling affects state law.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ch. V, Sec. II

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