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Education and Economic Inequality

February 20, 2012

Today’s NYTimes Campaign Stops features an extended essay by Thomas Edsall entitled “Is This the End of Market Democracy?”… and the answer appears to “Yes… unless we make some changes“. The essay describes in detail how and why the middle income jobs are disappearing in our “advanced economies” How can this be reversed? Jeffrey Sachs, one of the economists quoted at length in the article suggests:

 “A social democracy — capitalism plus a hefty dose of state support for families, education, early childhood development, higher education, and active labor market policies — can still do the job. The performance of northern Europe, around 120 million people including Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, provides a good illustration of this success.”

Earlier posts highlighted the success of Finnish schools on international tests and those articles described a school system markedly different from our assessment obsessed environment to one that dealt with the whole child. The Finnish system, in effect, valued development over competition… the development of the skills needed to function in a democracy over the skills needed to succeed in capitalism.

It is evident that neither political party is willing to endorse Finland’s developmental approach to schooling or Sach’s “…hefty dose of state support for families, education, (and) early education”. Instead we will be forced to choose between the Republican party’s social Darwinist education policies that seek to privatize public services and Obama’s Race to the Top both of which neglect the need to coordinate services for underprivileged children and overemphasize the importance of standardized tests.

Categories: Uncategorized
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