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Excellence in K-12 Education: Lessons from Finland and Washington


“On the surface, Finland is the education world’s ultimate slacker. Children don’t start school here until they’re seven years old. They have far less homework than many countries. And they log fewer hours in the classroom than most developed countries, even the United States. But don’t be fooled. Finnish students score first in the world in science, and second in the world in math.” [Learn more from CNN]

Teachers, activists, scholars, foundations, and reformers have worked for decades to improve public education in Washington. As we seek to create high quality, inclusive, and equitable K-12 education for our kids, what can we learn from Finland – a country about the size of our state, and widely seen as an educational success?

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg

Join Dr. Pasi Sahlberg (Finnish Director General in the Ministry of Education) for a one-day conference with leading education policymakers, experts and advocates — hosted by the Economic Opportunity Institute, the University of Washington College of Education, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Seattle Education Association.

The conference will feature the following workshops with direct interaction with educators and policymakers from both countries:

  • Teacher preparation, ongoing training and professional development
  • Comparing the school experiences in Finland and Washington State
  • Learning multiple languages in Finnish and Washington State elementary schools
  • Teaching STEM

Former King County Executive Ron Sims will lead the conference, which will also include remarks from Washington State Superintendent Randy Dorn and Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda.

Excellence in K-12 Education: Lessons from Finland and Washington
Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Location: University of Washington Husky Union Building (HUB)
Time: Registration 8:30 AM; Program: 9 AM-5 PM, lunch provided
Cost: $25 (includes lunch and materials), $15 for students
Registration required – 150 attendees max:

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg is a longtime classroom instructor, teacher trainer, and agency leader who has coached schools and advised education policymakers around the world. He is an international keynote speaker and has published over 100 articles and books. Dr. Sahlberg is also a member of the Board of Directors of ASCD and Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and the University of Oulu. His latest book is “Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?”

Made possible with generous support from: Center for International Mobility, Finland; Consulate of Finland, Seattle; Finlandia Foundation; Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland; Seattle Education Association; University of Washington College of Education; University of Washington Scandinavian Studies Department, Finnish Program; and the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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