Sentences to Ponder: Finland and Pre-K


1. On Finland

“The education system did not improve as a result of some commitment to a general sense of ‘school autonomy’ – rather it improved at a time when a consensus had been carefully developed, around a very tightly defined common set of ideas and practices…. In the late 1960s they recognized the need to enhance human capital and did something about it, through common and systemic education reform, driven and monitored from the centre.”

2. On the education wars

K-12 education is an exhausted, bloodsoaked battlefield. It’s Agincourt, the day after. So a suggestion: Refocus some reformist passions on early childhood.

3. On pre-k data

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“Programs beginning before 1980 produced signifificantly larger effect sizes (.33 standard deviations) than those that began later (.16 standard deviations). Declining effect sizes over time are disappointing, as we might hope that lessons from prior evaluations and advances in the science of child development would have led to an increase in program effects over time. However, the likely reason for the decline is that counterfactual conditions for children in the control groups in these studies have improved substantially. We have already seen in Figure 1 how much more likely low-income children are to be attending some form of center-based care now relative to 40 years ago.”

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