Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pasi Sahlberg on "Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn?" at MASBO

Pasi Sahlberg is keynoting this morning at MASBO's annual institute. Updating as we go...
Sahlberg notes that his presentation will have some things cross posted on his Twitter feed. UPDATE: he has posted the slides from today here. The chart in particular is key to this!  
speaking about some concerns he has with American education as now

"if you really want to understand education in our country, you have to understand our culture"
asked former NY Governor George Pataki about American education: "and then he gave me this three minute talk without breathing about how bad things are"
Pataki then asked "What do you think?"
"there are still so many things in your education system that I don't understand"
Pataki asked what he meant
"Why you don't do those things here in America in your education policies" that have been done "by almost everybody" but "these are American ideas"
Pataki asked for an example
one particular idea from American idea from education about thirty years ago
Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences 
asked for another example: cooperative learning
have to get rid of whole class lecture
"but nobody's using this, nobody's taking this seriously, except the Finns, the Canadians, and others"
"looking at the real evidence of how education systems have gotten there"
but then after his conversation, Pataki gave the same lines about making American education great again by firing all the bad teachers and so forth
"I keep on doing these same things over and over again"
tried to see about public education in the presidential race "it's not very much"
Trump: 28th in education
"28th of what?" what is the evidence of where we are and based on what
"what do we mean by quality of education--what are we looking at?"
international test scores: "that's only one very narrow thing we're looking at"
look at completion rates, efficiency rates, how kids are learning, how the system is serving different individuals
"many things that we have to include in this picture"
two dimensional measurement: quality of educational achievement (on language, math, science in test scores) as measured against equity
essentially what is the correlation: if there is high correlation, the school system isn't overcoming inequity; if there is low correlation, the school system assists in overcoming family background challenges: four quadrants, everyone wants to be in the upper right
"and tomorrow you can ask the Commissioner this question" and comments that he's argued with him about this several times
fifty states, 14,000 districts, and they all pretty much have their own things
"you cannot compare America to Finland" because the states all have their own systems
"particularly if you compare America to Shanghai: it's CRAZY"
"the only thing we can do right now is compare what the fifteen year olds can do in math and reading and science"
doesn't tell us anything about creativity and social skills or anything else
"make sure you are absolutely clear about this"
the US is smack in the middle: "you are basically an average performer" of all of the countries in the world on the correlation of equity and performance
European Union is very close to the same (if put together in one system)
"and nobody in Europe would EVER that the system is horrible, collapsing"
"and the countries that maybe aren't doing so well in math and reading and science might be doing something better"
if I were the Commissioner, I would campaign fiercely to give every child the right to learn another language
"in a globalized international world" there are few things more important
"right and an obligation for everybody"
Canada doing better on equity/performance (upper right)
also Estonia, Japan, South Korea
and nearly all of the OECD countries fall along the line of correlation
indicates that maybe if you're on the lower end, you should enhance equity in your system to also improve performance
Finland: no private schools at all, best teachers to the schools where they were mostly needed, schools with more needs, get more resources and this has happened over the past thirty years as Finland focused on equity
richness of evidence and data that we have
Shanghai and Singapore are not more equitable
Dutch are nearly there in equity and performance
"first of all, America is not doing badly...according to the data, it's an average"
it isn't doing the same thing you've been doing
"just trying to do the wrong thing a little bit righter"
more time, tougher accountability, more isn't going to get you there
"it's the wrong way"
MA has high outcomes by LOUSY equity
"has a chronic issue with inequity"
serving well for those who have what they need to be successful, but not doing well for those who need more
"no other way [to improve] than to invest and enhance equity considerably"
"if there's anything failing in this country, it isn't education" in this country
something that is failing students long before they get to school
income inequality in this country
the US is one of the most unequal nations in the world at the moment
"how do we deal with the wealth in the country" is the country
negative correlation between the income inequity and student achievement
"that's what I see as a visitor here that I just don't is not your problem"
Five things to change:

  1. competing against others v. learning from one another "You will never be the number one education nation ever..." as top Asian cities send kids to evening classes again after leaving school for the day...not learning from other countries around the world
  2. big data v. small data "have so much data that you don't even know what to do with it all"; little tiny data in the classroom; teachers who don't know about assessment in the classroom anymore; cannot improve education only by big data; and it's HUGELY expensive
  3. human capital v. social capital: individuals "best and brightest" rather than improving all
  4. accountability v. professionalism: big data leading to corruption; teachers trusted less and less every year; held accountable for almost everything; how you could professionalize teaching profession more; accountability hugely expensive
  5. innovation v. implementation: "implementing the American ideas that you have created here of the past hundred years" rather than creating new ideas that other countries will implement and the US will not
Churchill: Americans will do the right thing--after they have tried everything else

best teachers put where they are needed the most? limited on doing those things here? Those countries doing very well also have high rates of teachers' organizations. Recommends looking at the Alberta Teachers Association for professional teachers' organization model

sounds like a call for a national system of education if we want to increase our performance? No. Don't believe that a good change will come from Washington, D.C. in this country. Good change will come through states and through some of the activist districts. "if women's voice is not heard in education policy, it will fail" Positive way to go for some small states to look at what really works and how the American education system will be redesigned. Then many other states would follow. State to state assistance. "Race to the Top was very harmful" in that way; put states in competition with one another. Actively promote and reward policy systems at the state level could usefully be done by the federal government

Helsinki spends no money on transportation for students; public transit is designed with school transportation in mind

professional learning communities? Yes, critical part of effort. Obstacle is that teachers don't have time to do those things. US teachers spend significantly more time in the classroom and on classroom-related activities. Professional development of teachers must take place in their own time. A radical move would be to spend time in schools more on learning, really helping students to learn? Can you spend time and money in a different way that would focus more on learning and really helping kids to learn? Speaks of a rural Vermont school, time has been transformed: no time for recess. No time outside. "Why don't you let your kids go out and play? Play is learning." "unstructured, time to do what they want to..." "Why don't you do that in your school? It doesn't cost anything." Kids will be happier, they will be healthier

How does one count learning without testing? Sampling testing (like in NAEP). For school accountability, "trust and rely on professionals" for this system. "They don't ask the standardized test data to tell this." In the US "if it moves, it must be measured"

Special education in other systems? Inclusive policy, including all different learners in mainstream schools...fully and properly funded special education system. "what do we mean by special needs child? What's the definition of a special need?" Much more aggressive early intervention at the schools to meet the children where they are at what they need. System in place with proper funding in place

No comments: