Standardized tests: Finland’s education system vs. the U.S.

Finland and the U.S. have chosen opposing answers to the question of how much standardized testing is too much.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
  • Imperial China developed the first standardized tests for bureaucratic hopefuls.
  • Finland has all but done away with standardized tests, and its education system remains one of the best in the world.
  • The United States relies heavily on these tests and scores lower than Finland in academic rigor, yet provides a more balanced educational system for boys and girls, as well as immigrants
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How does Finland’s top-ranking education system work?

The key to Finland's success is to view education not as a privilege, but a right.

Photo credit: Emmi Korhonen / AFP/ Getty Images
  • Finland has been a top contender on every Program for International Student Assessment survey.
  • The country built a comprehensive education structure designed to offer citizens free education with no dead ends.
  • The inspiration for Finland's approach was American education research and philosophers such as John Dewey.
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How millennials can become a successful generation

Millennials, engage! It's the reason you keep losing to baby boomers.

  • Millennials keep waiting for technology to fix their problems, but they can improve their quality of life now through voting and civic engagement.
  • Baby boomers participate in politics and turn up to vote at much higher rates, so their priorities dominate the political system. (The median member of Congress is 59 years old. That's bad.)
  • Removing roadblocks to voting will help millennials realize their political power so they can vote for issues that affect them most, like climate change policy, raising wages for workers, and closing the wealth gap.

Is free expression online threatened by content removal?

U.S. laws regulating online speech offer broad protections for private companies, but experts worry free expression may be threatened by "better safe than sorry" voluntary censorship.

A member of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrates outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
  • U.S. laws regulating online speech offer broad protections for internet intermediaries.
  • Despite this, companies typically follow a "better safe than sorry" approach to protect against legal action or loss of reputation.
  • Silencing contentious opinions can have detrimental effects, such as social exclusion and negating reconciliation.
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We need disagreeable people to fix our dishonest institutions

Eric Weinstein suggests institutions need individuals who can pass two famous psychological tests.

Rebel Wisdom via YouTube
  • Eric Weinstein is a mathematician, economist and managing director of Thiel Capital.
  • In a recent interview with Rebel Wisdom, Weinstein spoke about the origins of the Intellectual Dark Web, and his theory of how our institutions are plagued by an "embedded growth obligation."
  • Disagreeable people, Weinstein says, could help institutions correct themselves.
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