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September 20, 2010


It should be pointed out that while Finland does have consistently excellent test scores, the countries ranking just behind it are more varied in their social structures. Based on the 2006 PISA science surveys, Estonia and Hong Kong were the next best performing countries, while Estonia is quite a bit more social-democratic than the US (public health insurance, parental leave etc) it is quite free market by European standards. (In fairness I am intimately acquainted with the Estonian educational system). And Hong zkong is no-ones idea of social-democracy. Uber social-democratic Norway on the other hand performs quite poorly, on par with the US. So one wonders what aspect of culture, efucaional policy, and political/economic system actually yields the most benefits from a purely educational standpoint.

Hi Dana

I´m a great admirer of you and your work(With all due respect, your fiancée must be the happiest man on Earth). But, two points:

1-) Finland has the big advantage of being a country poor enough to allow competitive teacher´s wages(In Norway, where you have to compete with the oil industry for teachers has poor educational numbers) while on the same time is a country rich enough to have a large and highly educated middle class to provide good teachers.

2-) Brazil has plenty of public daycare, nursery school and universal health coverage. There are problems, specially because we are talking about a relatively poor country. But there is day care, nursery school and universal health coverage available to everyone, specially in the richer regions.

But education numbers in Brazil are terribly bad, really horrible. Compare that to India, that has a lower GDP per capita, and mostly none of these services. It´s a matter of culture, as a comparison between rural areas in India and relatively rich areas in Latin America shows.

Good points Andre--I'll try to respond at greater length in a post later in the week.

(Just a correction--I'm not engaged! Don't know where ya got that idea! But I'll tell my boyfriend that he should be extra nice to me today.)

Well, I saw some pictures of you in Flickr and I imagined that this pretty couple must be engaged. But, in the age of cyber voyeurism when men gets your personal data wrong that´s not a bad thing... ;-)


A few quick points:

1. Unless your referencing a different KIPP-parent-TV episode from Jay's book (and I'm not aware of any), the student involved is female, not male.

2. If you are, in fact, referring to pages 188-191 of Jays book (a chapter called, "Taking Away the TV"), I'd encourage you to re-read the passage to see how Feinberg "convinc[ed] one mom to limit her son's TV time". Rather than "convince" her to limit her daughter's viewing, Feinberg went to the student's house and threatened to kick the child out of KIPP unless the mother allowed him to take the TV. That may be one way to "solve" the situation, but it fails to 1) help the parent learn to set limits/boundaries, and 2) doesn't do anything to get the kid to turn off the TV.

There are many public and charter schools that actively engage parents and work with them to solve problems. It's too bad you couldn't have picked out one of these schools to highlight.

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