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what americans keep ignoring about finland's school success

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 01:29 AM
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.

So there was considerable interest in a recent visit to the U.S. by one of the leading Finnish authorities on education reform, Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Earlier this month, Sahlberg stopped by the Dwight School in New York City to speak with educators and students, and his visit received national media attention and generated much discussion.

And yet it wasn't clear that Sahlberg's message was actually getting through. As Sahlberg put it to me later, there are certain things nobody in America really wants to talk about.

* * *

During the afternoon that Sahlberg spent at the Dwight School, a photographer from the New York Times jockeyed for position with Dan Rather's TV crew as Sahlberg participated in a roundtable chat with students. The subsequent article in the Times about the event would focus on Finland as an "intriguing school-reform model."

Yet one of the most significant things Sahlberg said passed practically unnoticed. "Oh," he mentioned at one point, "and there are no private schools in Finland."

This notion may seem difficult for an American to digest, but it's true. Only a small number of independent schools exist in Finland, and even they are all publicly financed. None is allowed to charge tuition fees. There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.

The irony of Sahlberg's making this comment during a talk at the Dwight School seemed obvious. Like many of America's best schools, Dwight is a private institution that costs high-school students upward of $35,000 a year to attend -- not to mention that Dwight, in particular, is run for profit, an increasing trend in the U.S. Yet no one in the room commented on Sahlberg's statement. I found this surprising. Sahlberg himself did not.

Sahlberg knows what Americans like to talk about when it comes to education, because he's become their go-to guy in Finland. The son of two teachers, he grew up in a Finnish school. He taught mathematics and physics in a junior high school in Helsinki, worked his way through a variety of positions in the Finnish Ministry of Education, and spent years as an education expert at the OECD, the World Bank, and other international organizations.

Now, in addition to his other duties, Sahlberg hosts about a hundred visits a year by foreign educators, including many Americans, who want to know the secret of Finland's success. Sahlberg's new book is partly an attempt to help answer the questions he always gets asked.

From his point of view, Americans are consistently obsessed with certain questions: How can you keep track of students' performance if you don't test them constantly? How can you improve teaching if you have no accountability for bad teachers or merit pay for good teachers? How do you foster competition and engage the private sector? How do you provide school choice?

The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything America's school reformers are trying to do.

For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system's teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. "There's no word for accountability in Finnish," he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."

For Sahlberg what matters is that in Finland all teachers and administrators are given prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility. A master's degree is required to enter the profession, and teacher training programs are among the most selective professional schools in the country. If a teacher is bad, it is the principal's responsibility to notice and deal with it.

And while Americans love to talk about competition, Sahlberg points out that nothing makes Finns more uncomfortable. In his book Sahlberg quotes a line from Finnish writer named Samuli Puronen: "Real winners do not compete." It's hard to think of a more un-American idea, but when it comes to education, Finland's success shows that the Finnish attitude might have merits. There are no lists of best schools or teachers in Finland. The main driver of education policy is not competition between teachers and between schools, but cooperation.

Finally, in Finland, school choice is noticeably not a priority, nor is engaging the private sector at all. Which brings us back to the silence after Sahlberg's comment at the Dwight School that schools like Dwight don't exist in Finland.

"Here in America," Sahlberg said at the Teachers College, "parents can choose to take their kids to private schools. It's the same idea of a marketplace that applies to, say, shops. Schools are a shop and parents can buy what ever they want. In Finland parents can also choose. But the options are all the same."

Herein lay the real shocker. As Sahlberg continued, his core message emerged, whether or not anyone in his American audience heard it.

Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.

* * *

Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, since academic excellence wasn't a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland's students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland -- unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway -- was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.

That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus. The chasm between those who can afford $35,000 in tuition per child per year -- or even just the price of a house in a good public school district -- and the other "99 percent" is painfully plain to see.

* * *


Pasi Sahlberg goes out of his way to emphasize that his book Finnish Lessons is not meant as a how-to guide for fixing the education systems of other countries. All countries are different, and as many Americans point out, Finland is a small nation with a much more homogeneous population than the United States.

Yet Sahlberg doesn't think that questions of size or homogeneity should give Americans reason to dismiss the Finnish example. Finland is a relatively homogeneous country -- as of 2010, just 4.6 percent of Finnish residents had been born in another country, compared with 12.7 percent in the United States. But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn't lose its edge in education. Immigrants tended to concentrate in certain areas, causing some schools to become much more mixed than others, yet there has not been much change in the remarkable lack of variation between Finnish schools in the PISA surveys across the same period.

Samuel Abrams, a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Teachers College, has addressed the effects of size and homogeneity on a nation's education performance by comparing Finland with another Nordic country: Norway. Like Finland, Norway is small and not especially diverse overall, but unlike Finland it has taken an approach to education that is more American than Finnish. The result? Mediocre performance in the PISA survey. Educational policy, Abrams suggests, is probably more important to the success of a country's school system than the nation's size or ethnic makeup.

Indeed, Finland's population of 5.4 million can be compared to many an American state -- after all, most American education is managed at the state level. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a research organization in Washington, there were 18 states in the U.S. in 2010 with an identical or significantly smaller percentage of foreign-born residents than Finland.

What's more, despite their many differences, Finland and the U.S. have an educational goal in common. When Finnish policymakers decided to reform the country's education system in the 1970s, they did so because they realized that to be competitive, Finland couldn't rely on manufacturing or its scant natural resources and instead had to invest in a knowledge-based economy.

With America's manufacturing industries now in decline, the goal of educational policy in the U.S. -- as articulated by most everyone from President Obama on down -- is to preserve American competitiveness by doing the same thing. Finland's experience suggests that to win at that game, a country has to prepare not just some of its population well, but all of its population well, for the new economy. To possess some of the best schools in the world might still not be good enough if there are children being left behind.

Is that an impossible goal? Sahlberg says that while his book isn't meant to be a how-to manual, it is meant to be a "pamphlet of hope."

"When President Kennedy was making his appeal for advancing American science and technology by putting a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's, many said it couldn't be done," Sahlberg said during his visit to New York. "But he had a dream. Just like Martin Luther King a few years later had a dream. Those dreams came true. Finland's dream was that we want to have a good public education for every child regardless of where they go to school or what kind of families they come from, and many even in Finland said it couldn't be done."

Clearly, many were wrong. It is possible to create equality. And perhaps even more important -- as a challenge to the American way of thinking about education reform -- Finland's experience shows that it is possible to achieve excellence by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity.

The problem facing education in America isn't the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed. More equity at home might just be what America needs to be more competitive abroad.
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/


there are words for accountability in finnish though but a pretty good article nevertheless.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 01:33 AM
Poor abraxas. Must be very frustrating for you.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 01:36 AM
Poor abraxas. Must be very frustrating for you.

frustration can only come when you expect something you don't/can't receive. that's not my case at all.

i'm happier than a dog with 2 tails

Lopez
01-08-2012, 01:39 AM
Nice article. Finland is getting a lot press about this subject lately. The education system is one of the things I'm most proud of in my country. There are flaws in it as well but overall, it works very well.

There are a lot of things wrong here politically and socially in my opinion but this is definitely not one them.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 01:42 AM
Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically...
Since this opening sentence is already wrong, it's difficult to keep reading.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 01:44 AM
Nice article. Finland is getting a lot press about this subject lately. The education system is one of the things I'm most proud of in my country. There are flaws in it as well but overall, it works very well.

There are a lot of things wrong here politically and socially in my opinion but this is definitely not one them.

i particularly like finland's example on education because it serves to counter the dogmatic libertarians who always adovcate for privatization and competition as keys for a healthy society.

but i don't think the finnish model can be exported throughly to other nations mainly because of the cultural differences that may exist. i've never been to finland but i've been told that the finns tend to be generally suspicious of successful and competitive people (except in sports) whereas in the USA those are traits that are highly valued by the average joe.

different strokes for different folks, as they say.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 01:45 AM
Since this opening sentence is already wrong, it's difficult to keep reading.

i know it's hard for a libertarian like you to understand. better hide your head in the sand and pretend everything is just dandy. :hug:

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 01:47 AM
God bless you abraxas. I hope your dreams come true in the next life at least.

Lopez
01-08-2012, 02:00 AM
i particularly like finland's example on education because it serves to counter the dogmatic libertarians who always adovcate for privatization and competition as keys for a healthy society.

but i don't think the finnish model can be exported throughly to other nations mainly because of the cultural differences that may exist. i've never been to finland but i've been told that the finns tend to be generally suspicious of successful and competitive people (except in sports) whereas in the USA those are traits that are highly valued by the average joe.

different strokes for different folks, as they say.

I'd say that some people are envious of success, maybe just because of the fact that everyone at least has a chance of getting an education here but some just won't do it.

I tend to agree that some functions should be left to the state to avoid inequality simply by being born in a less fortunate family. However, governments could be run much more smoothly and with much less cash and Finland could do with lowering its taxes.

noddzy
01-08-2012, 02:00 AM
Yet Sahlberg doesn't think that questions of size or homogeneity should give Americans reason to dismiss the Finnish example. Finland is a relatively homogeneous country -- as of 2010, just 4.6 percent of Finnish residents had been born in another country, compared with 12.7 percent in the United States. But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn't lose its edge in education. Immigrants tended to concentrate in certain areas, causing some schools to become much more mixed than others, yet there has not been much change in the remarkable lack of variation between Finnish schools in the PISA surveys across the same period.




The above is something I have a contention with. I cannot see how a system followed successfully in a country of 5.4 million people with much less ethnic diversity can be faithfully reconstructed in a country with 300 million people. The complexity of any system is strongly correlated to the size of the system. Let us first see the success of such a system in a country of at least 60-80 m people. if I know correctly, Germany has a state-funded education system too, with most higher institutions charging little to no tuition. Yet German students score below most East-Asian and Scandinavian countries in the PISA surverys. If I see such a system succeeding in countries like UK/Germany/France , I would be further persuaded.

emotion
01-08-2012, 02:13 AM
What? I live in the US, and 90% of people here agree there needs to be huge change in sysyem, just much disagreement in how. IMO, ending the dept. of education would be a disaster.

orangehat
01-08-2012, 04:15 AM
Since this opening sentence is already wrong, it's difficult to keep reading.

:spit:

Care to elaborate?

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 04:16 AM
Who wants a bunch of cookie cutter smart kids? I won't bother to list the world-famous creative American people, but please go ahead and list the Finns that made a creative impact on the world.

Snooki is more creative than any Finn I've heard of. A book, a fashion line, a TV show. She's done it all.

orangehat
01-08-2012, 04:22 AM
Who wants a bunch of cookie cutter smart kids? I won't bother to list the world-famous creative American people, but please go ahead and list the Finns that made a creative impact on the world.

Snooki is more creative than any Finn I've heard of. A book, a fashion line, a TV show. She's done it all.

no one does.

but cookie cutter smart kids come out of educations systems similar to those in singapore/korea.

The finnish system is much different. (particularly when no regular tests are involved)

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 04:25 AM
no one does.

but cookie cutter smart kids come out of educations systems similar to those in singapore/korea.

The finnish system is much different. (particularly when no regular tests are involved)

There is a list of famous Finns in Wikipedia. Apart from sports, I recognized two names - Sibelius and Santa Claus!

They may be smart but they must be producing followers, not doers.

orangehat
01-08-2012, 04:29 AM
There is a list of famous Finns in Wikipedia. Apart from sports, I recognized two names - Sibelius and Santa Claus!

They may be smart but they must be producing followers, not doers.

*cough* 5 million people compared to *cough* 300 million americans

*cough* Nokia, Linux *cough*

Kat_YYZ
01-08-2012, 05:31 AM
great article, abraxas. thanks for posting :)

shiaben
01-08-2012, 07:34 AM
Why does buddyholly keep getting his panties in a bunch, when there's a positive critique of anything?

Pirata.
01-08-2012, 08:38 AM
The education system in America is a disgrace. I'm in university studying education in order to become a teacher and it's depressing to do my observations and see that most teachers these days lack creativity and drive because they're forced to "teach the test" above all else.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 09:13 AM
:spit:

Care to elaborate?
The best creators and entrepreneurs in the world, highest standard of living, wealth and power. Any of these ring a bell?

Care to elaborate how this American dream could happen under an obsolete education system? Unless you think raw talent accomplished this.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 10:55 AM
The article raises some good points, but is too US-centered.

The key to Finland's educational system is not equity itself, but rather freedom. The Finnish system strives to provide an open, individualised approach to education. It applies the most modern trends in Western education about the need to employ an inductive, learner-oriented approach rather than a deductive, teacher-based strategy. The key word in the article is creativity. By creating an environment that is free of competition and pressure, you get rid of the stress and in turn eliminate the anxiety. But most importantly, you offer the individual person room for personal development. In the Finnish system, every single child has the possibility of identifying and working on their strengths, something which is usually undermined in a more classic, conventional approach like the American one. The result is an improved effectivity. Basically, and I don't think this is even debatable, experts around the world are realising it is much more preferable to teach how to think, rather than what to think, and how to acquire knowledge, rather than what knowledge to acquire.

The great educator Sir Ken Robinson explained it perfectly in his memorable speech at TED:

iG9CE55wbtY


A shorter video, an RSA animation of the same points:

zDZFcDGpL4U

That being said, the Finnish system works in Finland, and it can work anywhere else, but it is not directly exportable to other countries with much different circumstances (more populated/higher density/different cultural background, etc.).

The issue about private education needs to be regarded from another perspective. Private schools boost competition, and competition between schools isn't necessarily bad. But schools, all schools, must be regulated and controlled. The right of the child to learn properly is more important than the right of the school to teach what they want (or the right of the parent to teach their children whatever they feel is right).

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 11:11 AM
The above is something I have a contention with. I cannot see how a system followed successfully in a country of 5.4 million people with much less ethnic diversity can be faithfully reconstructed in a country with 300 million people. The complexity of any system is strongly correlated to the size of the system. Let us first see the success of such a system in a country of at least 60-80 m people. if I know correctly, Germany has a state-funded education system too, with most higher institutions charging little to no tuition. Yet German students score below most East-Asian and Scandinavian countries in the PISA surverys. If I see such a system succeeding in countries like UK/Germany/France , I would be further persuaded.

I teach in a German high school.

As I said, the Finnish system cannot be directly extrapolated to a country like Germany. One of the main reasons for this is indeed population, but rather population density.

The German state where I live is home to 18 million people, almost four times as much as Finland, despite being ten times smaller. In Finland you have schools in sparsely populated areas where teachers have to work with 9, 7, even 5 students at a time. Needless to say, the scope of possibilities is much bigger.

Yet the German system is indeed virtually cost-free, and teacher education also stresses the need for an open, learner-oriented approach to education that focuses on encouraging the individual student. In this state, it has even become law: "every student has the right to individualised support and promotion".

Compared to the East-Asian nations (which implement a radically different approach) and the Scandinavian countries, the German system might not fare as good, but among the big nations it is at the top or near it in all areas.

orangehat
01-08-2012, 11:12 AM
The best creators and entrepreneurs in the world, highest standard of living, wealth and power. Any of these ring a bell?

Care to elaborate how this American dream could happen under an obsolete education system? Unless you think raw talent accomplished this.

:rolls:

You are committing a very basic fallacy, the question of correlation vs. causation.

You claim that the US education system is fine because there exists creators and entrepreneurs when it could be that a poor education system causes more creators and entrepreneurs.

Of course, that is an absurd hypothesis but think about this instead. India was claimed by TIME magazine not long ago to be the world leading exporter of CEOs. Does this mean that India's education system produces CEOs? I'm sure you would not be as foolish as to suggest that. Similarly, just because there exists a wealth of successful entrepreneurs and creators does nothing to suggest that all is fine and well with the US education system. Furthermore, people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates never ever completed tertiary education, and with primary and secondary education math and science data coming out of US schools, you would have to agree that they were more geniuses than a successful product of the US education system.

You might then argue that, sure, maybe a good education system does not cause the existence of entrepreneurs/creators but that a dearth of a reasonable education system would surely mean that entrepreneurs cannot succeed and hence the US education system isn't so bad after all. I mean, ENTREPRENEURS EXIST! surely this means the US system isn't an absolute failure at least?

Perhaps, but the presence of success stories doesn't do anything to hide the presence of humongous failures. Privatised education is not the way to go and with public schools heading into scenes of racial segregation seen in those of the 1960s the system is dying.

Education was seen as a means to educate the masses and be a great leveller. Now in the US it's just becoming a further tool of class warfare where the rich get (relatively) better education and the poor worse. And even among the rich, the private schools still don't compare to those elsewhere.

The only remaining saving grace for the US education system is in its universities.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 11:25 AM
There is a list of famous Finns in Wikipedia. Apart from sports, I recognized two names - Sibelius and Santa Claus!

They may be smart but they must be producing followers, not doers.

The most famous open-source operating system in the world and the company that led the global emergence of mobile phones came from Finland. That alone is not bad for such a small country.

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 12:12 PM
The most famous open-source operating system in the world and the company that led the global emergence of mobile phones came from Finland. That alone is not bad for such a small country.

Yeah, orangehat thinks Nokia and Linus are famous Finns.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 12:29 PM
Yeah, orangehat thinks Nokia and Linus are famous Finns.

Well, I was more interested in your last point, quoting examples of Finns doing something.

This is a rather mute debate, but a very interesting one in my opinion. The Finnish system is one of the most socialised in the world. Even for European standards, the Government is very sizeable, the tax burden is huge and the regulated pursuit for equality almost holy.

I have always found it quite paradoxal. The Finnish educational system is based on freedom, openness, decentralisation and individualisation. It tries to encourage the person to evolve according to his/her own rules, strengths, desires and ambitions. And then, when they are done, they are thrown into a system that is all but designed for the individual endeavour and that puts obstacles in their way when they try to fulfil those exact ambitions.

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 12:35 PM
Well, I was more interested in your last point, quoting examples of Finns doing something.

This is a rather mute debate, but a very interesting one in my opinion.

It's an abraxas thread. I don't know enough about the Finnish education system to make a serious comment.
Nieminen is the only Finn I know and he doesn't look particularly smart.

vucina
01-08-2012, 12:40 PM
Great, but when will they destroy those inefficient small farmers and establish kolkhoz and sovkhoz?

orangehat
01-08-2012, 12:54 PM
Yeah, orangehat thinks Nokia and Linus are famous Finns.

just when I thought buddyholly couldn't get any lower :worship:

Right, because that was obviously what I was referring to :rolleyes:

Lopez
01-08-2012, 12:55 PM
I have always found it quite paradoxal. The Finnish educational system is based on freedom, openness, decentralisation and individualisation. It tries to encourage the person to evolve according to his/her own rules, strengths, desires and ambitions. And then, when they are done, they are thrown into a system that is all but designed for the individual endeavour and that puts obstacles in their way when they try to fulfil those exact ambitions.

Great posting from you in this thread once again :yeah:. I definitely agree and its a big reason why I want a smaller government here. Some of the more important things should be left under government but the tax rates make no sense, they practically discourage striving for wealth and entrepreneurship etc.

It's an abraxas thread. I don't know enough about the Finnish education system to make a serious comment.
Nieminen is the only Finn I know and he doesn't look particularly smart.

This is a pretty ignorant comment in my opinion. Nieminen actually graduated from high school (Federer and Nadal never did), not that high school is a powerful argument for someone's intellect but he seems like a very intelligent guy from what I've seen. A typical Finn who doesn't talk too much, especially when there's nothing to say :p.

noddzy
01-08-2012, 01:17 PM
I teach in a German high school.

As I said, the Finnish system cannot be directly extrapolated to a country like Germany. One of the main reasons for this is indeed population, but rather population density.

The German state where I live is home to 18 million people, almost four times as much as Finland, despite being ten times smaller. In Finland you have schools in sparsely populated areas where teachers have to work with 9, 7, even 5 students at a time. Needless to say, the scope of possibilities is much bigger.

Yet the German system is indeed virtually cost-free, and teacher education also stresses the need for an open, learner-oriented approach to education that focuses on encouraging the individual student. In this state, it has even become law: "every student has the right to individualised support and promotion".

Compared to the East-Asian nations (which implement a radically different approach) and the Scandinavian countries, the German system might not fare as good, but among the big nations it is at the top or near it in all areas.

Thanks for the info. Yes, population density is obviously a factor, since it will directly affect the teacher-student ratio. The city where I originally come from in India(Calcutta) alone has 2-3 times the population of the whole of Finland or Norway ! The things that you mentioned in your earlier post about the freedom of a student to explore personal development (though praiseworthy) go out of the window, when you have thousands of students in a school locked in a rat-race to "make" it in life !

I have always admired both the German education system as well as their health-care system ( a good mix of public/private options without the profit motive overpowering the system). Maybe the US should look more in that direction.

MariaV
01-08-2012, 01:17 PM
This is a pretty ignorant comment in my opinion. Nieminen actually graduated from high school (Federer and Nadal never did), not that high school is a powerful argument for someone's intellect but he seems like a very intelligent guy from what I've seen. A typical Finn who doesn't talk too much, especially when there's nothing to say :p.

+1
I wonder if buddyholly has ever heard a Nieminen interview.

Not going to get into the economic discussion but hasn't the inequality increased also in Finland in the recent years? I think I've seen some stats and discussions on the issue. Or maybe it's just the claims of the SDP.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 01:35 PM
Thanks for the info. Yes, population density is obviously a factor, since it will directly affect the teacher-student ratio. The city where I originally come from in India(Calcutta) alone has 2-3 times the population of the whole of Finland or Norway ! The things that you mentioned in your earlier post about the freedom of a student to explore personal development (though praiseworthy) go out of the window, when you have thousands of students in a school locked in a rat-race to "make" it in life !

I have always admired both the German education system as well as their health-care system ( a good mix of public/private options without the profit motive overpowering the system). Maybe the US should look more in that direction.

That is true and that is also what Sir Ken Robinson was talking about when he said what we need in the education systems is not what we're having, an evolution, but rather a revolution.

There are several proposals as to how to do this. One of the most common ones is grouping the children not according to age, but according to other factors like stage of development depending on the subject, or according to skills, interests, etc.

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 01:40 PM
This is a pretty ignorant comment in my opinion. Nieminen actually graduated from high school (Federer and Nadal never did), not that high school is a powerful argument for someone's intellect but he seems like a very intelligent guy from what I've seen. A typical Finn who doesn't talk too much, especially when there's nothing to say :p.

Come on now, Lopez. This is an abraxas thread. He couldn't care less about the educational level of the Finns. He is just trolling the internet for anything remotely anti-American to post and cluttering up the forum with non-topics. Are the differences between the Finnish and American education levels of intense interest to anyone? I refuse to take the bait and pander to his obsession.
I am disappointed that you would even think I would seriously question the IQ of Nieminen.

One minute he is praising the Finns and the next he is slamming the Norwegians.

Lopez
01-08-2012, 01:54 PM
Well that's good to hear ;). Most of the time I get your sarcastic replies, maybe I'm too sensitive about this topic to have caught them this time :lol:.

MariaV, yes income inequality has increased if you were talking about that. This is a logical progression of taxing wages too much, which makes it difficult for a normal person to accumulate wealth.

Personally, I don't see a problem with income inequality itself, as long as it doesn't lead to situations where the poor are worse off. In a well-run society, I don't really see the connection. What is it away from me that someone else makes money? As long as the basic functions of government are run well enough.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 01:57 PM
It's an abraxas thread. I don't know enough about the Finnish education system to make a serious comment.
well, cant say im surprised. i already knew you just came to my threads with the sole purpose of trolling :hug:

Nieminen is the only Finn I know and he doesn't look particularly smart.
must be the hairdo

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 02:01 PM
Why does buddyholly keep getting his panties in a bunch, when there's a positive critique of anything?

You are so right. I apologize. Abraxas has such a profound and caring passion for American school kids always getting the best of the best. I should respect that sentiment.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 02:03 PM
Come on now, Lopez. This is an abraxas thread. He couldn't care less about the educational level of the Finns. He is just trolling the internet for anything remotely anti-American to post and cluttering up the forum with non-topics. Are the differences between the Finnish and American education levels of intense interest to anyone? I refuse to take the bait and pander to his obsession.
I am disappointed that you would even think I would seriously question the IQ of Nieminen.

now i'm the one who's trolling :rolleyes:

it's funny how you have accused me several times for hating the west but when i praise a country that belongs to the western world (in cultural and social terms at least), you take it as merely an attack of your beloved USA. what is it, then? do i just hate the USA or the west as a whole?

One minute he is praising the Finns and the next he is slamming the Norwegians.

and how is this related in any way? obviously every nation has good and bad things.

i won't reply to any of your posts from now on... you're just begging for attention.

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 02:03 PM
well, cant say im surprised. i already knew you just came to my threads with the sole purpose of trolling :hug:


Your thread titles are the definition of trolling.

Now go watch Raonic and then start a thread about what Chileans can learn from Canadian tennis success.

Dougie
01-08-2012, 02:32 PM
Great posting from you in this thread once again :yeah:. I definitely agree and its a big reason why I want a smaller government here. Some of the more important things should be left under government but the tax rates make no sense, they practically discourage striving for wealth and entrepreneurship etc.



I agree there are problems with the taxation, but the biggest problem is not that itīs too high generally, itīs that itīs wrongly structured, the income tax is the one thatīs too high.



Personally, I don't see a problem with income inequality itself, as long as it doesn't lead to situations where the poor are worse off. In a well-run society, I don't really see the connection. What is it away from me that someone else makes money? As long as the basic functions of government are run well enough.

Thatīs exactly what usually happens. WHen people who are already wealthy, make more and more money, they tend to save that money, or invest it. They donīt consume that extra income, which reduces the overall consumption of the society and makes the unemployment increase, in turn. If that extra income would be ( at least partly)end up in the hands of the lower income-workers, more of that money would be consumed. Iīm not saying there shouldnīt be income inequalities at all, of course there should, itīs only natural. And hard work should be rewarded financially. But taxation should be there to steer things and correct some injusticies, because the question is much more complicated than "how is it away from me if someone else makes more money"? Indirectly itīs always away from someone, usually the lower income-classes, who are already suffering to get by. Of course, it would be nice if we could all make more money but unfortunately, itīs not possible. And if it would be, inflation would eat away the purchasing power.

Lopez
01-08-2012, 02:51 PM
Investment is an equal part of the GDP with consumption though :shrug:.

And I don't see how a tax cut reduces consumption, in the worst case scenario it stays the same.

You've probably heard of the equal tax model which was proposed a few years back. It was an interesting suggestion and not at all impossible to implement together with our social democratic society.

MariaV
01-08-2012, 03:03 PM
Well that's good to hear ;). Most of the time I get your sarcastic replies, maybe I'm too sensitive about this topic to have caught them this time :lol:.

MariaV, yes income inequality has increased if you were talking about that. This is a logical progression of taxing wages too much, which makes it difficult for a normal person to accumulate wealth.

Personally, I don't see a problem with income inequality itself, as long as it doesn't lead to situations where the poor are worse off. In a well-run society, I don't really see the connection. What is it away from me that someone else makes money? As long as the basic functions of government are run well enough.

Yes I meant the income inequality.
But it has become a global problem that the fewer megarich not just super rich accumulate relatively bigger amount of (global) wealth and the 'middle class' gets poorer and relative poverty increases.
I agree, if I could live at least realtively normally on my salary I wouldn't care but when it becomes harder and harder to even get by with a salary (not meaning minimum wage) from a full-time job it becomes a problem for the whole society.

Dougie
01-08-2012, 04:35 PM
Investment is an equal part of the GDP with consumption though :shrug:.

And I don't see how a tax cut reduces consumption, in the worst case scenario it stays the same.

You've probably heard of the equal tax model which was proposed a few years back. It was an interesting suggestion and not at all impossible to implement together with our social democratic society.

Yes, investment is part of GDP. My point was that when the income of the wealthy class increases, some of it is invested ( but also to abroad), and so much of it saved ( in one form or another) that the money tends to drift more away from circulation, then it would if it would spread more evenly.

I never said tax cuts would reduce consumption, of course itīs the opposite. I assume youīre talking about the income tax, which is too high at the moment. The capital gains tax, however is not.

Fully implemented equal tax model is hardly realistic, and it would require a total restructuring of the whole political/economical system. Increasing the value added tax can be seen as a step in that direction, however.

Lopez
01-08-2012, 04:52 PM
Yes, investment is part of GDP. My point was that when the income of the wealthy class increases, some of it is invested ( but also to abroad), and so much of it saved ( in one form or another) that the money tends to drift more away from circulation, then it would if it would spread more evenly.

I never said tax cuts would reduce consumption, of course itīs the opposite. I assume youīre talking about the income tax, which is too high at the moment. The capital gains tax, however is not.

Fully implemented equal tax model is hardly realistic, and it would require a total restructuring of the whole political/economical system. Increasing the value added tax can be seen as a step in that direction, however.

Good points.

The bolded part is matter of opinion though ;). IMO dividends shouldn't even be taxed since corporate tax has already been paid on them, why should you pay twice?

But this is getting very offtopic....

Dougie
01-08-2012, 05:02 PM
Good points.

The bolded part is matter of opinion though ;). IMO dividends shouldn't even be taxed since corporate tax has already been paid on them, why should you pay twice?

But this is getting very offtopic....

That is a good point as well. As you said, these are very much matters of opinion, and off-topic in this thread. :)

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 09:32 PM
:rolls:

You are committing a very basic fallacy, the question of correlation vs. causation.

You claim that the US education system is fine because there exists creators and entrepreneurs when it could be that a poor education system causes more creators and entrepreneurs.

Of course, that is an absurd hypothesis but think about this instead. India was claimed by TIME magazine not long ago to be the world leading exporter of CEOs. Does this mean that India's education system produces CEOs? I'm sure you would not be as foolish as to suggest that. Similarly, just because there exists a wealth of successful entrepreneurs and creators does nothing to suggest that all is fine and well with the US education system. Furthermore, people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates never ever completed tertiary education, and with primary and secondary education math and science data coming out of US schools, you would have to agree that they were more geniuses than a successful product of the US education system.

You might then argue that, sure, maybe a good education system does not cause the existence of entrepreneurs/creators but that a dearth of a reasonable education system would surely mean that entrepreneurs cannot succeed and hence the US education system isn't so bad after all. I mean, ENTREPRENEURS EXIST! surely this means the US system isn't an absolute failure at least?

Perhaps, but the presence of success stories doesn't do anything to hide the presence of humongous failures. Privatised education is not the way to go and with public schools heading into scenes of racial segregation seen in those of the 1960s the system is dying.

Education was seen as a means to educate the masses and be a great leveller. Now in the US it's just becoming a further tool of class warfare where the rich get (relatively) better education and the poor worse. And even among the rich, the private schools still don't compare to those elsewhere.

The only remaining saving grace for the US education system is in its universities.
Spoken like a true social liberal. :hatoff:

Let me make myself clear first. I, personally, don't believe in 100% private education. As a libertarian this theoretically contradicts my views but in practice I'm willing to accept it's impossible. Having said that, I certainly do not believe in 100% publicly subsidized education. If parents are incapable to provide at least 10% of their child's education fees I would question their legal responsibility to take care of their family.

Regarding the quality of the education itself, of course it's not perfect. I might even say it's far from perfect. But the topic implies it needs to catch up with the rest of the world and countries like Finland apparently exceed the US in leaps and bounds. Even you should be able to appreciate how desperately delusional this claim is. Per capita, the US provides more useful creative innovation to the world than anywhere else. If you really think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jack Dorsey, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley (I could go on and on) would have developed equal or even better success somewhere in Europe or Asia, then sorry, to put it mildly, you are very delusional and stubborn.

Class warfare is just a tool for the left to attack the right. If it's about income, America is the most opportune country for anyone to break these imaginary barriers and join whatever so-called "class" they want. Your implication that America's education is system is barely good enough to allow entrepreneurs to thrive is laughable at best. There's no statistical evidence to back up any of your claims nor the implications made by this article.

The best you can come up with is:
Perhaps, but the presence of success stories doesn't do anything to hide the presence of humongous failures.
Without any statistics or examples to support this claim, your argument is as obsolete as your entire view of this topic.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 10:03 PM
Spoken like a true social liberal. :hatoff:

Let me make myself clear first. I, personally, don't believe in 100% private education. As a libertarian this theoretically contradicts my views but in practice I'm willing to accept it's impossible. Having said that, I certainly do not believe in 100% publicly subsidized education. If parents are incapable to provide at least 10% of their child's education fees I would question their legal responsibility to take care of their family.

Regarding the quality of the education itself, of course it's not perfect. I might even say it's far from perfect. But the topic implies it needs to catch up with the rest of the world and countries like Finland apparently exceed the US in leaps and bounds. Even you should be able to appreciate how desperately delusional this claim is. Per capita, the US provides more useful creative innovation to the world than anywhere else. If you really think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jack Dorsey, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley (I could go on and on) would have developed equal or even better success somewhere in Europe or Asia, then sorry, to put it mildly, you are very delusional and stubborn.

Class warfare is just a tool for the left to attack the right. If it's about income, America is the most opportune country for anyone to break these imaginary barriers and join whatever so-called "class" they want. Your implication that America's education is system is barely good enough to allow entrepreneurs to thrive is laughable at best. There's no statistical evidence to back up any of your claims nor the implications made by this article.

The best you can come up with is:

Without any statistics or examples to support this claim, your argument is as obsolete as your entire view of this topic.

I think what orangehat is trying to say is that, while the American system might favour the individual initiative more than the European one, it also accounts for greater class disparity and therefore for more widespread poverty.

abraxas21
01-08-2012, 10:07 PM
Class warfare is just a tool for the left to attack the right. If it's about income, America is the most opportune country for anyone to break these imaginary barriers and join whatever so-called "class" they want. Your implication that America's education is system is barely good enough to allow entrepreneurs to thrive is laughable at best.

:spit:

Is America the "land of opportunity"? Not so much.

A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) finds that social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the U.S. than in many other developed countries.

So if you want your children to climb the socioeconomic ladder higher than you did, move to Canada.

The report finds the U.S. ranking well below Denmark, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Spain in terms of how freely citizens move up or down the social ladder. Only in Italy and Great Britain is the intensity of the relationship between individual and parental earnings even greater.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/17/social-immobility-climbin_n_501788.html


Relative Mobility: The United States Has Less Relative Mobility
Than Many Other Developed Countries
Data on relative mobility suggest that people in
the United States have experienced less relative
mobility than is commonly believed. Most studies
find that, in America, about half of the advantages of
having a parent with a high income are passed on to the
next generation.11 This means that one of the biggest
predictors of an American child’s future economic
success — the identity and characteristics of his or her
parents — is predetermined and outside that child’s
control. To be sure, the apple can fall far from the tree
and often does in individual cases, but relative to other
factors, the tree dominates the picture.
These findings are more striking when put in
comparative context. There is little available evidence
that the United States has more relative mobility than
other advanced nations. If anything, the data seem to
suggest the opposite. Using the relationship between
parents’ and children’s incomes as an indicator of
relative mobility, data show that a number of countries,
5
including Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden,
Germany, and France have more relative mobility than
does the United States (see Figure 3).12
Compared to the same peer group, Germany is 1.5
times more mobile than the United States, Canada
nearly 2.5 times more mobile, and Denmark 3 times
more mobile. Only the United Kingdom has relative
mobility levels on par with those of the United States.
To be sure, analyzing the relationship between parents’
and children’s incomes is but one way of defining
relative mobility from one generation to the next. The
full story may be more complicated, and the Economic
Mobility Project intends to further investigate relative
mobility using additional measurement and analysis.

http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP%20American%20Dream%20Report.pdf

Lopez
01-08-2012, 10:09 PM
The top American universities are certainly that: top. They produce great talent. Couple that with the American entrepreneurial spirit, you'll get great results.

However, looking at the average level and the picture aint so perfect. The gap is huge.

Don't get me wrong, every country has people less and more informed. But as I said, the gap seems to be large in the US. This is just one example:

fys3MsKMpms

buddyholly
01-08-2012, 10:49 PM
. what is it, then? do i just hate the USA or the west as a whole?





The West as a whole, with particular hate for the US, so you have no problem using another western country in a relative capacity.

star
01-08-2012, 11:00 PM
At one time the U.S. was the best educated county in the world. This was true by the mid 19th century. Sadly, the U.S. has lost the edge and seems to think that funding public education is a waste. There’s also a religiosity that has a distinctly anti-intellectual bent, that put together with the traditional American “no-nothing” tradition militates against respecting education.

It would be a great thing if people in the U.S. realized that one of the reasons the country prospered was because of it’s well educated citizens.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:01 PM
I think what orangehat is trying to say is that, while the American system might favour the individual initiative more than the European one, it also accounts for greater class disparity and therefore for more widespread poverty.
I know what he means. But even America provides free schooling for the poorest 10% so everyone has the opportunity to get smart, get creative and get rich. There's really no excuse for being poor.

Har-Tru
01-08-2012, 11:06 PM
I know what he means. But even America provides free schooling for the poorest 10% so everyone has the opportunity to get smart, get creative and get rich. There's really no excuse for being poor.

Come on, you know it's more complicated than that...

star
01-08-2012, 11:14 PM
I know what he means. But even America provides free schooling for the poorest 10% so everyone has the opportunity to get smart, get creative and get rich. There's really no excuse for being poor.

You really need to take a look at inequality in the U.S.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:16 PM
Come on, you know it's more complicated than that...
Do tell.

I've seen Philippine immigrants in London, Turkish immigrants in Munich and Mexican immigrants in California with negligible education make $40,000 a year building, cleaning and gardening. If you can be bothered to take the initiative and provide a useful service for society then, yes, it's that simple, you won't be poor. The only so-called "poverty" I see in America are the fat trailer trash who live off welfare and watch TV all day.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:19 PM
You really need to take a look at inequality in the U.S.
Inequality is not a crime. No-one is entitled to free happiness. Everyone is entitled to pursue happiness.

Lopez
01-08-2012, 11:21 PM
I know what he means. But even America provides free schooling for the poorest 10% so everyone has the opportunity to get smart, get creative and get rich. There's really no excuse for being poor.

The problem is that when you charge huge tuition feeds, you get generations of the same rich family going to the best schools and keep sending their kids etc... a form of aristocracy. It's difficult to get into that pattern. Furthermore, since there really is a major difference between the most expensive and the least expensive universities, this does create a gap.

star
01-08-2012, 11:23 PM
Do tell.

I've seen Philippine immigrants in London, Turkish immigrants in Munich and Mexican immigrants in California with negligible education make $40,000 a year building, cleaning and gardening. If you can be bothered to take the initiative and provide a useful service for society then, yes, it's that simple, you won't be poor. The only so-called "poverty" I see in America are the fat trailer trash who live off welfare and watch TV all day.

Then you are lucky not to live where I live.

I know people who work hard who are just above or even not above the poverty line.

I grew up in a very poor family and around people who had little money. Most of them worked from before dawn until after dark. I was able to make a good living because of the value put on education and some extremely lucky breaks in my life. People helped me all along the way.

I can’t stand the snobby people who were born into affluent families thumbing their noses at people who have little money as if they are all lazy and worthless people. It’s a lack of understanding of the true economics of this country and also a total lack experience — not to mention compassion.

noddzy
01-08-2012, 11:24 PM
Do tell.

I've seen Philippine immigrants in London, Turkish immigrants in Munich and Mexican immigrants in California with negligible education make $40,000 a year building, cleaning and gardening. If you can be bothered to take the initiative and provide a useful service for society then, yes, it's that simple, you won't be poor. The only so-called "poverty" I see in America are the fat trailer trash who live off welfare and watch TV all day.

What if I have a genetic disorder, a physical disability, or a debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis which prevents me from doing the afore-mentioned work ? Should I be cast off since I cannot provide "enough" value to society ?

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:27 PM
The problem is that when you charge huge tuition feeds, you get generations of the same rich family going to the best schools and keep sending their kids etc... a form of aristocracy. It's difficult to get into that pattern. Furthermore, since there really is a major difference between the most expensive and the least expensive universities, this does create a gap.
Yes, university is another problem and again I have to make myself clear here. Most libertarians would condone 100% private university education and, in theory, I should too. But I'm willing to accept in reality this is not optimum for boosting skill and productiveness. I would PARTIALLY subsidize university for those who can't afford tuition. This doesn't make me a "pure" libertarian but when it comes to providing equal opportunity for children who can't choose the wealth of their parents, it's better to sacrifice a little liberty - just a little.

star
01-08-2012, 11:32 PM
Yes, university is another problem and again I have to make myself clear here. Most libertarians would condone 100% private university education and, in theory, I should too. But I'm willing to accept in reality this is not optimum for boosting skill and productiveness. I would PARTIALLY subsidize university for those who can't afford tuition. This doesn't make me a "pure" libertarian but when it comes to providing equal opportunity for children who can't choose the wealth of their parents, it's better to sacrifice a little liberty - just a little.

You ought to sacrifice a lot more if you want to keep on living your posh libertarian life. It is an extremely bad thing for the country if there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor.

If all the rich people are living in nice neighborhoods with nice schools and 60% of the country is living in filth and scraping to get by as well as pay for their children’s education, it’s not going to be pretty one day. Even the French didn’t get by with that system forever.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:45 PM
Then you are lucky not to live where I live.

I know people who work hard who are just above or even not above the poverty line.

I grew up in a very poor family and around people who had little money. Most of them worked from before dawn until after dark. I was able to make a good living because of the value put on education and some extremely lucky breaks in my life. People helped me all along the way.

I can’t stand the snobby people who were born into affluent families thumbing their noses at people who have little money as if they are all lazy and worthless people. It’s a lack of understanding of the true economics of this country and also a total lack experience — not to mention compassion.
This is the typical liberal/socialist rhetoric - it's all about luck. Yes, much of what happens in this life-time is random, unlucky and harsh. Does this make it any more right to intervene on people's liberty?

There's also a lot that isn't random. You take the initiative to provide something useful that society wants, in a capitalist world, society will reward you. To me that's about as fair as it can get.

I have no idea what your friends are doing slaving away and living in poverty but it's difficult to discuss rationally with you when you throw in personal bombs like this. If you've really suffered so much, I'm sorry but I'm no-where near the top end of society either. I also can't prove this but my point is you can't base your arguments on personal upbringing and experience. Obviously it effects everyone's opinion but when it comes to an online debate with a complete stranger all you can do is stick to statistics and facts that can be reliably referenced.


What if I have a genetic disorder, a physical disability, or a debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis which prevents me from doing the afore-mentioned work ? Should I be cast off since I cannot provide "enough" value to society ?
What if you were born in Zimbabwe or Ethiopia? Should the army move in to stabilize, provide food, build schools, universities and hospitals? In a perfect world, yes.

noddzy
01-08-2012, 11:53 PM
T

What if you were born in Zimbabwe or Ethiopia? Should the army move in to stabilize, provide food, build schools, universities and hospitals? In a perfect world, yes.

I don't know why you brought up those countries as a counter argument. I am just trying to see what your libertarian utopia would do to me if I were unlucky enough to have a debilitating condition. I am not "personally responsible" for my physical debilitation, am I ? Will I just be a casualty of "survival of the fittest" and thrown off the ship ?

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:55 PM
You ought to sacrifice a lot more if you want to keep on living your posh libertarian life. It is an extremely bad thing for the country if there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor.

If all the rich people are living in nice neighborhoods with nice schools and 60% of the country is living in filth and scraping to get by as well as pay for their children’s education, it’s not going to be pretty one day. Even the French didn’t get by with that system forever.
You couldn't be more wrong, from both a moral and economic standpoint. The freedom to pursue happiness only helps when people are motivated to pursue it. The gap between rich and poor is merely a function of this motivation. The best economic system is the one with highest AVERAGE (both mean and median) living standard.

Libertarianism is certainly not posh. Again, class warfare is obsolete when anyone has the ability to join a different income category.

Jimnik
01-08-2012, 11:57 PM
I don't know why you brought up those countries as a counter argument. I am just trying to see what your libertarian utopia would do to me if I were unlucky enough to have a debilitating condition. I am not "personally responsible" for my physical debilitation, am I ? Will I just be a casualty of "survival of the fittest" and thrown off the ship ?
I don't know why you can't understand my point. What's the difference between being born a cripple and being born in a shit country? Both are unlucky, both are harsh, and in both cases there's nothing you can do to fix it. How does that make everyone else responsible for you?

noddzy
01-09-2012, 12:03 AM
I don't know why you can't understand my point. What's the difference between being born a cripple and being born in a shit country? Both are unlucky, both are harsh, and in both cases there's nothing you can do to fix it. How does that make everyone else responsible for you?

OK..expected this answer from you. I completely disagree with your worldview that society cannot do anything about a "cripple".

Jimnik
01-09-2012, 12:06 AM
OK..expected this answer from you. I completely disagree with your worldview that society cannot do anything about a "cripple".
Society can do a lot and in a libertarian world it will do a lot. But society cannot be FORCED to do a lot. There's a major difference between choosing to help and being forced to help.

noddzy
01-09-2012, 12:09 AM
Society can do a lot and in a libertarian world it will do a lot. But society cannot be FORCED to do a lot. There's a major difference between choosing to help and being forced to help.

Completely disagree again. I do not want to depend on charity to help a little kid through his/her being born a "cripple".

Pirata.
01-09-2012, 12:09 AM
Care to elaborate how this American dream could happen under an obsolete education system? Unless you think raw talent accomplished this.

The American Dream is an outdated idea.

Jimnik
01-09-2012, 12:10 AM
Completely disagree again. I do not want to depend on charity to help a little kid through his/her being born a "cripple".
And in the words of Jagger: You can't always get what you want.

Har-Tru
01-09-2012, 12:14 AM
Do tell.

I've seen Philippine immigrants in London, Turkish immigrants in Munich and Mexican immigrants in California with negligible education make $40,000 a year building, cleaning and gardening. If you can be bothered to take the initiative and provide a useful service for society then, yes, it's that simple, you won't be poor. The only so-called "poverty" I see in America are the fat trailer trash who live off welfare and watch TV all day.

Nevermind, you answered my question to Lopez already.

noddzy
01-09-2012, 12:23 AM
And in the words of Jagger: You can't always get what you want.

I can, my friend, I can. It's just that you and I have starkly different world-views/philosophies on how to get what we want.

abraxas21
01-09-2012, 01:37 AM
The only so-called "poverty" I see in America are the fat trailer trash who live off welfare and watch TV all day.

:facepalm:

you'd fit in perfectly with the right wingers of my country who like to insist that the poor are poor because they're lazy

abraxas21
01-09-2012, 01:47 AM
You couldn't be more wrong, from both a moral and economic standpoint. The freedom to pursue happiness only helps when people are motivated to pursue it. The gap between rich and poor is merely a function of this motivation.

just because you're serious, i'll play along with this idea.

if the gap between the rich and the poor is just a function of the motivation to pursue happiness, then how would you explain that there's a higher proportion of rich who come from wealthy families than what happens in other classes? it's not just common sense but also an statistical fact that family wealth does have a high influence in the economic and social development of their offspring.


Libertarianism is certainly not posh.

libertarianism isn't posh, it's just crap.

Topspindoctor
01-09-2012, 02:03 AM
:facepalm:

you'd fit in perfectly with the right wingers of my country who like to insist that the poor are poor because they're lazy

99% of the population are poor precisely because they're lazy. Of course blaming someone else is easier.

buddyholly
01-09-2012, 04:13 AM
then how would you explain that there's a higher proportion of rich who come from wealthy families





Duh!

abraxas21
01-09-2012, 04:18 AM
99% of the population are poor precisely because they're lazy. Of course blaming someone else is easier.

what stops you from saying 99.5% or 99.9%?

if i were you i'd just go all in and say 100%

buddyholly
01-09-2012, 04:23 AM
Why use Finland as an example? China was #1 in all three tests. Shouldn't the US adopt the Chinese system?

And why would the US copy Finland anyway? Why would they want their GDP/capita reduced by $11,000/year?

MaxPower
01-09-2012, 10:10 AM
It's a lot to do with resources.

For example if you got 20 children per teacher, all coming from stable families with good income, modern computers, books etc they got an entirely different situation no matter what system is used.

If you got 30-40 students per teacher, 5-10 of them from troublesome family situations, old books etc then even the smart ones will be dragged down a little no matter what system.

I would love every country in the world to have a finish education system but it's not realistic. That said US should learn from Finland. Even Sweden has been learning from Finland's education system.

abraxas21
02-09-2012, 01:35 AM
The freedom to pursue happiness only helps when people are motivated to pursue it. The gap between rich and poor is merely a function of this motivation.

99% of the population are poor precisely because they're lazy. Of course blaming someone else is easier.

i came back to this thread and these 2 posts made me so angry that i had to go outside, steal a baby and toss it hard against a concrete wall.

abraxas21
02-09-2012, 01:38 AM
That said US should learn from Finland. Even Sweden has been learning from Finland's education system.

i love how swedes always like to think they're superior to pretty much anyone not born in sweden. finns especially -as a former swedish colony- must be quite used to this.

abraxas21
02-09-2012, 01:40 AM
And why would the US copy Finland anyway? Why would they want their GDP/capita reduced by $11,000/year?

you might want to read the thread again.

i believe the thread title is pretty clear with regards to what this thread is about but now it is evident that british education is kind of failing in the area of reading comprehension. or perhaps some kids were just left behind...

Pirata.
02-09-2012, 03:39 AM
i came back to this thread and these 2 posts made me so angry that i had to go outside, steal a baby and toss it hard against a concrete wall.

I didn't murder any infants, but yeah those comments were pretty gross.

Jimnik
02-09-2012, 04:49 AM
i came back to this thread and these 2 posts made me so angry that i had to go outside, steal a baby and toss it hard against a concrete wall.
I feel sorry for you.

You need to get laid or find some pot. Try to enjoy life a little.

njnetswill
02-10-2012, 06:26 AM
As someone who studies and works in the field of education (and has actually read the works of researchers like Linda Darling-Hammond, who studied Finnish education), this is what I have to add to the conversation:

1. All of the world's best performing education systems demonstrate strong state leadership in prioritizing education and allocating resources to the education system. They combine strong faculty training, high pay for teachers (competitive with other high-education professions), flexibility at the local level, and accountability at the national level.

2. Privatization of education has never been proven to work effectively and only serves the interests of those already best positioned to receive a quality education. Just look at Chile. The idea that decreasing the role of the federal government in education would actually improve education is a fantasy lacking sound backing. (But a fantasy that is quite popular in the American political realm as we speak)

The United States has a completely dysfunctional education system that produces poorly prepared, poorly compensated teachers whose work conditions differ drastically district from district. Among public schools, the wealthiest districts are able to spend more than three times as much per student than the poorest districts, since U.S. school districts mainly rely on local property taxes for funding. High degrees of residential segregation based on class means that school districts in the United States are funded at very different levels.

No matter how motivated a student is, they will always be at a disadvantage if they are in a district that can only hire the least qualified teachers, are using out dated books and technology, and receive little to no services such as counseling, college prep, or a diverse array of course offerings.

njnetswill
02-10-2012, 06:30 AM
Why use Finland as an example? China was #1 in all three tests. Shouldn't the US adopt the Chinese system?


No, only students from the city of Shanghai took the PISA exams. Since Shanghai is so much wealthier than most other cities and provinces in China, those results are not a good reflection of the Chinese education system.

abraxas21
02-11-2012, 03:04 PM
As someone who studies and works in the field of education (and has actually read the works of researchers like Linda Darling-Hammond, who studied Finnish education), this is what I have to add to the conversation:

1. All of the world's best performing education systems demonstrate strong state leadership in prioritizing education and allocating resources to the education system. They combine strong faculty training, high pay for teachers (competitive with other high-education professions), flexibility at the local level, and accountability at the national level.

2. Privatization of education has never been proven to work effectively and only serves the interests of those already best positioned to receive a quality education. Just look at Chile. The idea that decreasing the role of the federal government in education would actually improve education is a fantasy lacking sound backing. (But a fantasy that is quite popular in the American political realm as we speak)

The United States has a completely dysfunctional education system that produces poorly prepared, poorly compensated teachers whose work conditions differ drastically district from district. Among public schools, the wealthiest districts are able to spend more than three times as much per student than the poorest districts, since U.S. school districts mainly rely on local property taxes for funding. High degrees of residential segregation based on class means that school districts in the United States are funded at very different levels.

No matter how motivated a student is, they will always be at a disadvantage if they are in a district that can only hire the least qualified teachers, are using out dated books and technology, and receive little to no services such as counseling, college prep, or a diverse array of course offerings.

+1

at least someone is making sense here

abraxas21
02-11-2012, 03:05 PM
I feel sorry for you.

You need to get laid or find some pot. Try to enjoy life a little.

life is awesome... just because i dare to have a critical opinion doesnt mean i dont enjoy life. i dont even understand how you can think one thing denies the other

buddyholly
02-12-2012, 02:06 AM
No, only students from the city of Shanghai took the PISA exams. Since Shanghai is so much wealthier than most other cities and provinces in China, those results are not a good reflection of the Chinese education system.

Well then, isn't it obvious that the US should follow the Shanghai system?

buddyholly
02-12-2012, 02:10 AM
i love how swedes always like to think they're superior to pretty much anyone not born in sweden. finns especially -as a former swedish colony- must be quite used to this.

For someone who likes telling other people they can't read, it seems you totally failed to understand the post you are whining about here.

Aloimeh
02-12-2012, 07:40 PM
I would tend to agree with buddyholly on this one. We see the stats come out about how Finland or Korea or Sri Lanka are way ahead of the US/UK/etc. in their education, but perusing a list of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences (less subjective than literature or peace) over the last 50 years and you'll see they come from a rather small group: USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia/USSR, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland...and perhaps a small smattering of other countries.

What gives?

I'll be honest and say here that I have no idea what education is like in those countries. But I do know what it's like in the US. Public education at the pre-college level is mediocre. But you can teach yourself many of these subjects in your own free time - if you have the interest. There are many mediocre universities as well.

However, there is a top echelon of ~200 universities in the US where your opportunities are going to be much greater than what you could find in Finland, Sri Lanka, or Korea. If you are interested, you can work with outstanding faculty (many of whom are immigrants, but many are born Americans as well) on research projects as early as your first year at the university. The resources are there, the talent is there, you just have to have an interest.

In the end, education is the responsibility of the individual. We live in the information age. If you want to become a well read individual, you can borrow books from your local public or university library and read them. If you want some help with figuring out how to do math or science problems, there are internet forums where people will help you out (not to mention many great textbooks). If you want to learn a foreign language, there are many self-study programs like Assimil, there's Skype, language learning chat websites, etc.

The individuals with interest and motivation float out on top in the end. The resources, however, are restricted to a small group of countries where the talent is able to come to their full potential. It's not an accident that so many foreigners want to come to the US.

abraxas21
02-12-2012, 09:08 PM
I would tend to agree with buddyholly on this one.

stopped reading right there

in retrospect, i should have stopped reading at "Aloimeh".

Aloimeh
02-12-2012, 09:11 PM
stopped reading right there

in retrospect, i should have stopped reading at "Aloimeh".

I'm sure that if you had gone to a Finnish school your latent ADHD would have been nipped in the bud, but alas it was not to be.

buddyholly
02-13-2012, 12:25 AM
I would tend to agree with buddyholly on this one.



Swoon................

But yes, we are right. It depends on priorities, though. The US champions individualism and Finland is a bastion of boring sameness. Thus while Finland might have a better average, the real cream will flourish in the US, where they are not held back by the need to conform and be like everyone else.

buddyholly
02-13-2012, 12:27 AM
I'm sure that if you had gone to a Finnish school your latent ADHD would have been nipped in the bud, but alas it was not to be.

I don't know why Finnish schools are so highly rated anyway. All they teach is how to use the right fork at a dinner party and how to dress tastefully.

Naudio Spanlatine
02-13-2012, 03:05 AM
I never liked the american school system nor their education standards, the school system is getting worst, California is one of the highest school debts in the US so far.:o

ballbasher101
02-13-2012, 04:17 AM
I remember a while back some Americans wanted creationism to be taught in schools :facepalm:. People say Americans are not smart. I think that is offensive and wrong. All countries have ignorant people. Most people don't like America because it acts like a bully just like every superpower has done since the beginning of time. The American education system does not have to be that good to be honest. America has been poaching the best minds in the world for decades. America has resources that other countries lack thus the best minds want to go and work in the US.
If the education system in the States became the envy of the world that might not necessarily be a good thing for the US government. The American people might actually start seeing how corrupt and useless their political leaders are. As things stand the American people believe whatever their government tells them.

Aloimeh
02-13-2012, 05:13 AM
I remember a while back some Americans wanted creationism to be taught in schools :facepalm:. People say Americans are not smart. I think that is offensive and wrong. All countries have ignorant people. Most people don't like America because it acts like a bully just like every superpower has done since the beginning of time. The American education system does not have to be that good to be honest. America has been poaching the best minds in the world for decades. America has resources that other countries lack thus the best minds want to go and work in the US.
If the education system in the States became the envy of the world that might not necessarily be a good thing for the US government. The American people might actually start seeing how corrupt and useless their political leaders are. As things stand the American people believe whatever their government tells them.

Europeans are not much better. I find that the most deluded gits are the people who think they are educated on an issue because they've read a steady slop of Guardian/BBC/NYT/CNN articles and watched the analogous TV media. I'd take a total ignorant any day over that sort, which usually has very strong opinions on issues of which they have the dimmest knowledge and understanding.

Naudio Spanlatine
02-13-2012, 05:22 AM
The americans arent that great either, the way they treat kids and adults with disablities is a disgrace. I think its ashame that most schools whether its in america and/or elsewhere around the world.

buddyholly
02-13-2012, 05:23 AM
America has been poaching the best minds in the world for decades. America has resources that other countries lack thus the best minds want to go and work in the US.


So why call it poaching? The word you were looking for is attracting.

Aloimeh
02-13-2012, 05:41 AM
So why call it poaching? The word you were looking for is attracting.

The word is not entirely without merit given the fact that Western policy and democracy "exporting" has led to quite a number of places become hellholes from which people are all too eager to flee, and it just so happens that the wealthier and smarter ones get into the US more easily (as well they should).

So while there's no intent to engineer braindrain, and it certainly isn't poaching in the classical sense, it's definitely a real side effect of Western policies.

ballbasher101
02-13-2012, 06:27 AM
Europeans are not much better. I find that the most deluded gits are the people who think they are educated on an issue because they've read a steady slop of Guardian/BBC/NYT/CNN articles and watched the analogous TV media. I'd take a total ignorant any day over that sort, which usually has very strong opinions on issues of which they have the dimmest knowledge and understanding.


No one is perfect. I'm not saying Europe is better. There is a reason higher eduction is expensive and just keeps getting more expensive. Governments all over the world purposely make it harder for people to keep acquiring knowledge. A well educated population is not easy to control. Most protesters are young people who acquire new knowledge and seek to change things. You get dictators controlling what is taught in schools because they know the importance of education and how it shapes minds.
I don't claim to know it all, no one knows it all. Who in their right mind comes to a conclusion on something from reading the Guardian/BBC/NYT/CNN articles and watching TV media. You do your own literature review. If you are able to conduct a scientific study then even better.

abraxas21
02-13-2012, 03:14 PM
I'm sure that if you had gone to a Finnish school your latent ADHD would have been nipped in the bud, but alas it was not to be.

i'd ponder on that idea for a minute if only i didn't come from one of the biggest -if not the biggest- clowns in the whole website.

i must say that the fact that you didn't win the ACC last year totally shattered my faith in democracy.

buddyholly
02-13-2012, 03:41 PM
I thought you hated democracy.