February 16, 2012, 9:31 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , ,

Math time.  Equations are given so no need to memorize them.

The first equation – from Umair Haque’s article on measuring the economy from the Atlantic, which I have excerpted below – is the standard measure of economic strength used universally by economists today.  It describes an idea of economic health using a fairly simple mix of some basic concepts:  consumption, government, investment and trade.

We live in a market age and we are all more or less conversant with these terms.  We’ve seen the idea represented by this very base equation come to occupy a central place in how we organize our society.  These are the terms of our market society lingua franca.

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smart Finns

How not to educate.

It seems the Finns are the envy of the world for their successes in education.  Which isn’t remarkable on its face; when you study systems using metrics someone has to come out on top.  What is remarkable is that the ideas that the Finns hold dear for educating their kids are almost to a one, the opposite of the ideas we Americans believe to be important.   I’ll take the risk of oversimplifying and describe the difference – see the article below – as: they believe in educating all equally, where we believe in making our kids compete to achieve.

I assume much of our belief system comes from what I’ve begun to understand is market fundamentalism.  The American sciences of management and marketing have gone viral and are infecting areas of life that they are not designed to mix with.  In America, CEOs are writing education policy.

The article excerpted below makes it quite clear that the policies at play in America are not working.  So the evidence is out there, now to hope that it gains traction.

I’ve broken out some of the ideas in the following two paragraphs, and excerpted a quotation from the article below.

American system:  long hours, exhaustive study, rote memorization, test constantly, track performance, rout out ‘bad’ teachers, reward ‘good teachers, foster competition, involve the private sector, let people choose their school.

Finnish schools:  less homework, more creative play, no standardized tests, no sense of accountability,  distrust of competition, no lists of best schools, cooperation, equality trumps excellence.

Here is the excerpt:

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.

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