Finnish Kids Finish First

Pardon me for the alliteration and the weak attempt at punning in the title of this post. I could not resist the temptation. But anyhow, the Finnish educational system’s successes underlines my convictions about what features define a good system. Here’s a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, “What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart?“. (Hat tip: Abhishek Sarda. Sorry that article will go behind the subscription firewall in a few days.)
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View of the Airbus 380 Cockpit

The Airbus 380 cockpit. Click on the image above to see the amazing 360 degree view (which will open in a new window or tab.) Note the controls at the bottom of the screen which allow you to zoom and tilt the view. (Thanks Yuvaraj for the link.)

The last time I sat in the jump seat of an Airbus was a flight from New Delhi to Paris on Aug 31st 2001. I had been traveling a lot on business and gotten to know the flight crew. I spent a couple of hours chatting with the captain that night as we winged our way across the world under a starry sky. A few days later, on Sept 11th, the opportunity for most people to ever hang out in the cockpit of a commercial jetliner vanished for good.

Reality Disconnect

There appears to be a thriving cottage industry which is primarily engaged in churning out shallow pieces of journalistic garbage. The pieces detail a particular person’s or family’s struggles and then juxtapose it in some dramatic way with perceived overall prosperity. The implicit argument is that there is an immense injustice being perpetrated against the poor, that it is all the fault of those who are not poor, and that the poor have absolutely no responsibility for the miserable state of affairs. These articles reveal a lot without intending to. They plainly state that the author did not quite learn the lesson that stared them in the face when they were investigating the story.
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