Here is an in-depth look at the Finnish school system, from Smithsonian magazine. I have written about Finland's schools in a past blog post, but this article gave me much more detail on them. I find it particularly intriguing that the school system manages to combine uniform national funding with local control of the details of curriculum. It seems they manage this by giving some general curriculum guidelines that schools are free to adjust according to their needs and priorities, and also by providing a similar, very high level of initial and ongoing education to teachers. I really like this model.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we just need more and better tests to improve the US's fairly dismal public education system. So argues this representative of Pearson education, a corporate merger behemoth that now apparently controls over half of the "market" for educational testing in the US. I'm more convinced though by John Oliver's argument to the contrary.