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BOOK REVIEW: FINNISH LESSONS: WHAT CAN THE WORLD LEARN FROM EDUCATIONAL CHANGE IN FINLAND? THE SERIES ON SCHOOL REFORM

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Finnish Lessons is a comprehensive book about how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author explains how education policies in Finland differ from those in other industrialized countries. Rather than relying on competition, school choice, and external testing of students, education reforms in Finland focus on professionalizing teachers' work, developing instructional leadership in schools, and enhancing trust in teachers and schools. The book details the complexity of educational change and encourages educators and policy makers to develop effective solutions for their own districts and schools. Finland is consistently ranked as one of the top performing countries in the international test known as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) that measures the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds in the subject areas of reading, math, and science. (In 2009, 65 developed countries participated in PISA.) This book tells how Finland has the best educated young people in the world. The driving force behind the redesign of the Finnish educational system in the 1980's and '90's was not to achieve high international test scores, but to provide an equitable education for all students. Book is a must-read for all concerned parents, educators, administrators, government officials, union leaders, policy-makers and scholars who are alarmed that current market-driven/competitive/punitive model isn't working and that a radical change is required. It's amazing that Sahlberg shares the Finnish roadmap with the world in what can only be described as an act of altruism.