I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What the Helsinki?


So, since we now all want to become Finland, what do they have to teach us?
Even if we adopted Finland’s approach, we’ve got HUGE problems that will probably get in our way from achieving similar success. For instance, Finland’s child poverty rate is one of the lowest of all OECD countries at 4.3%. The child poverty rate in the U.S. is one of the highest at 22.4%. Child poverty rates in U.S. public schools are certain to be substantially higher.
Would Finland's academic success be the same if its child poverty rate was sextupled? There is no way to gloss over this disturbing difference.

Finland’s trade union membership is 76% of its employed population, ranking it at #2 of the OECD countries (tied w/Denmark). The U.S. is near the bottom of the ranking (#17), at 13% and dropping.

So maybe what we need to simultaneously be doing is focusing on reducing our despicable child poverty rates as well as providing security to families a la union-type protections. And we’ll also need to deal with the impact of our family-destroying incarceration rate (# 1 United States: 715 per 100,000 people; #113 Finland: 71 per 100,000 people).
Adding: in the video attached, Pasi Sahlberg, Minister of Education in Finland, points out we spend 40% more per pupil on education here in the US. I hasten to point out that includes health care for our teachers; EVERYONE gets publicly funded health care in Finland, so its not a fair comparison.

The point is - we are NOT Finland. The lessons to be learned from them are very, very limited.

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