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28 DECEMBER 2016

Michael Moore: Why Finland has the Best Education

"Where To Invade Next is an expansive, hilarious, and subversive comedy in which the Academy Award®-winning director, playing the role of 'invader,' visits a host of nations to 'steal' some of their best ideas and bring them back home to the U.S. of A."

Extract from Michael Moore's 2015 film "Where to Invade Next".

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TAGS

2015academic achievementAmerican dreambest practicescitizenship • civics • documentary film • duties of citizens • education policyeducation systemeducational modelexemplary models • failure of performance testing • feature documentary • find your happiness • FinlandFranceGermany • great education • homework • human rights and duties • IcelandItaly • Krista Kiuru • Michael Moore • national best practices • Norway • operation and oversight of government • performance metrics • performance testing • performativityplaytime • political provocateur • Portugalschool performanceSloveniastandardisationstandardised testingstudent-centredteaching to the test • togetherness • Tunisia • Where to Invade Next (2015)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 MARCH 2013

Finland's school system accomplishes some impressive feats: so what makes Finnish students so successful?

"Students get plenty of teacher interaction: Finland and New York City have the same number of teachers. But Finland has nearly half the number of students. Standardized testing is kept to a minimum: before a New York student reaches high school, he or she will have taken 10 standardized tests. Collectively, US students take 100 million standardized tests a year. Finland's only standardized test is taken when students are 16 years old. Kids have more time to be kids: an average us 5th grader has 50 minimum of homework per day. Finnish students rarely do homework until their teens. And while us elementary students average 27 minutes of recess students in Finland get about 75 minutes a day). Finland knows good teachers are essential: teachers in Finland are all required to have a Master's degree (which is fully subsidized by the state)."

(OnlineClasses.org, 21 January 2013)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 FEBRUARY 2012

Australian cultural policy: a model for the UK

"Last November I visited Australia and the arts community was buzzing with talk about the country's proposed new cultural policy. So I took a look at the discussion document and I turned green with envy – why can't we have one of these in the UK?

In Britain we've never been good at framing a coherent approach to culture. Back in 1996 a senior civil servant at the Department for National Heritage told the Sunday Times: 'It is not part of our culture to think in terms of a cultural policy,' and not much has changed.

The Australian example shows what can be done. It's a remarkable and mercifully brief document that has many virtues.

First, it sets out the beliefs on which any serious cultural policy must be founded: 'The arts and creative industries are fundamental to Australia's identity as a society and nation, and increasingly to our success as a national economy.' It adds that 'the policy will be based on an understanding that a creative nation produces a more inclusive society and a more expressive and confident citizenry.'

Everything that follows in the document is built on this bedrock of ideology. Without such clear and transparent beliefs, and the commitment that flows from them, policies are doomed to endless wrangling about measurement and evidence.

But the document does acknowledge evidence where it exists, and uses it wisely. For example: 'Research shows that arts education encourages academic achievement and improves students' self–esteem, leading to more positive engagement with school and the broader community and higher school retention rates' – therefore 'the new national curriculum will ensure that young Australians have access to learning in the creative arts.'

But in the UK we have to suffer the non–evidence based approach of abolishing what went before just because the other lot invented it.

The next virtue is that the proposed policy not only encompasses the arts, heritage and creative industries, but extends into other areas like education and infrastructure. Culture is deemed relevant to every department of government, from the role that it plays in international relations (British Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to its economic importance (HM Treasury), from its impact on the need to build airports for cultural tourists (Department for Communities and Local Goverment) to cultural scholarship in Higher Education (Department for Education).

That relevance is a two–way street: for example, the cultural uses of high speed broadband affect hard infrastructural requirements, while the existence of the hardware creates cultural opportunities."

(John Holden, Monday 6 February 2012)

Fig.1 Australia's 1988 Bicentennial $10 Note.

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TAGS

academic achievementaccess to learningarts • arts and creative industries • arts communityarts educationarts policyAustralia • Australian example • beliefs • British Foreign and Commonwealth Office • coherent approach • confident citizenry • creative artscreative industriesCreative Nationcultural identity • cultural opportunities • cultural policy • cultural scholarship • cultural tourism • cultural uses • Department for Communities and Local Goverment • Department for Education • Department for National Heritage • evidence based policy • expressive citizenry • heritage • high speed broadband • higher education • HM Treasury • ideology • inclusive society • infrastructural requirements • measurement and evidence • national curriculumnational economy • positive engagement • self-esteem • society and nation • UK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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