A great many education-policy types, mainly defenders of the status quo, are smitten with Finland. There, kids have little homework, high-stakes tests are rare, and teachers get lots of money and respect. This self-congratulatory but wide-ranging and informative book by Finnish Ministry of Education Director General Pasi Sahlberg gives such folks aid and comfort, but it also probes key elements of the Finnish system that have gotten less attention on our shores. The most important: Finland’s uber-competitive teacher-training programs, which ensure quality on the front end and allow Finnish schools to confer greater autonomy on teachers in their classrooms. Emulating Finland in that respect would be good for American education. But are the defenders of the status quo ready to embrace TFA-level standards for all entrants to ed schools? Even if that means slaughtering the ed-school cash cow? Finland-lovers, we await your reply.

Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from the Educational Change in Finland? (New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2011).

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