CPS Presents Pasi Sahlberg, May 14 in Harvard Square

We are excited to present a talk by Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? and now a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Pasi has been a teacher, a teacher educator and educational coach and advisor for many years. He has become a global ambassador for Finland’s successful approach to school reform, one that is radically different from the test-driven, top-down reforms many of us have been resisting here in Massachusetts and across the United States.

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Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi’s talk, “Finnish Lessons: What MA Can Learn from Finland’s Education Reforms,” will be Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at First Parish in Cambridge, in Harvard Square, at the corner of Church Street and Massachusetts Avenue. His talk will confront the oft-heard claim that we have nothing to learn from Finland because it is such a different culture and society than ours.

Pasi recently co-authored a Boston Globe op-ed with Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley challenging the ideologically driven recommendations of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education’s report. In it, Pasi and his colleagues said, “Most of the solutions proposed in this report are out of line with the world’s best performers. The expansion of charter schools, less university-based teacher preparation, and putting digital technology before superb teaching as a way to personalize learning for students do not characterize the policies of international educational leaders like Canada, Finland, or Singapore. Which is not to say the report is altogether wrong. Every school system needs to keep searching for improvement, and the MBAE is right to explore new ways of moving forward.”

Pasi is former Director General of CIMO (of the Ministry of Education and Culture) in Helsinki. He has experience coaching schools and advising education policy makers around the world. Pasi has given hundreds of keynote speeches and published more than 100 articles, chapters and books on educational change. In his book Finnish Lessons, Pasi describes how Finland achieved educational excellence by first focusing on equity. He shows how this top-performing nation achieved its successful school reforms without competition, “school choice” or test-based accountability.